By Lawrence Kabutu
Government is changing the narrative of livestock farmers taking the rearing of cattle as a tradition but a viable business to improve their livelihoods.
Minister of Fisheries and Livestock Makozo Chikote said the New Dawn government is aware that farmers have for a long time fallen victim to being price takers not understanding the pricing methods of their animals.
Mr. Chikote said his government will help farmers know the true value of their livestock in line with the government policy on making the livestock sector an attractive and viable business.
‘’In this Country there is no business that can beat cattle, if we just put our house in order even mines will be following us behind. The livestock sector is a very viable and attractive industry,’’ he said.
‘’We hold the food security of this country, we also hold the nutrition security of the country, we hold the sector as farmers. During the agriculture shows i have visited farmers who told me that without a farmer, there is no future,’’ asserted Mr. Chikote.
The Minister cheered farmers that the legacy to leave behind and convince the President is that the livestock sector is a more powerful sector which can change the narratives of the country economically.
Mr. Chikote explained that economically the sector can even create jobs for youths loitering in the streets.
He encouraged farmers to commit themselves to new ideas that are coming on board pursued by the New Dawn administration.
Mr. Chikote observed that government is very much aware of the setbacks experienced by farmers whereby they have struggled to keep the animals for three years or five years and cattle traders have dictated the price for the livestock.
‘’When a cattle trader comes to dictate the price for your cattle you will be able now to argue and indicate your own price because Solidaridad has capacity built you during this live cattle grading mobile application launch. They have also constructed a spray race for you and a market centre to sell at a lucrative price,’’ he said.
Mr. Chikote reiterated the call on farmers to change the dynamics of treating livestock farming as a tradition and culture but to a viable attractive business to ameliorate hunger and poverty.
He clarified that the young and fatter animals are of more value in the beef industry as they give better quality meat fetching a higher price.
The minister stated that different cuts and grades of meat differ hence the different price of the same commodity.
And Solidaridad Southern Africa Country Director Sheila Garakara said her organisation has developed a Live Cattle Grading Mobile application to understand the grading of meat.
Ms. Garakara said her organisation developed a cattle grading mobile application and digitised the system to make the lives of farmers better in all aspects.
She said her organisation has been in Zambia since 2015 implementing activities in Fisheries and Livestock, horticulture, and aquaculture among others.
Ms. Garakara said Solidardid has been working on a livestock project in Mazabuka in Itebe agriculture camp encouraging improved productivity of the animals.
‘’ Solidaridad is now piloting a Nambola Livestock Programme which will be looking at grazing land, climate mitigation and resilience,’’ said Ms. Garakara.
She told the farmers that Solidaridad Southern Africa, is part of a global civil society organisation whose core focus is supporting smallholder producers to adopt good practices and gain access to robust infrastructure and market.
Ms. Garakara clarified that her organisation is taking better care of landscapes and considering the implications of the efforts put in place on climate.
Davies Mweemba who is a Senior Headman in Chief Mwanachingwala’s chiefdom praised the New Dawn Government for delivering on their promises.
The senior headman expressed happiness that the new dawn administration will assist in addressing challenges experienced in Chief Mwanachingwala’s chiefdom particularly in Itebe area were Solidaridad has constructed a spray race to deep farmers livestock and a market centre to sell livestock.
The trio was speaking during the launch of a Livestock Grading Mobile Application in Itebe agricultural Camp in Mazabuka.