Government says the livestock sector has great potential to become the economic backbone of the country if well harnessed.
Fisheries and livestock Permanent Secretary DR. BENSON MWENYA says while Zambia’s national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is growing at below 3 percent, indicators show that the livestock sector is growing at about 5.5 percent.
Dr. Mwenya says Zambia’s export potential has continued to grow over the last decade.
“The country has managed to penetrate livestock and livestock products export markets such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the European Union (EU), China and the United States of America (USA)” Dr. Mwenya said.
He says with new markets opening up in Saudi Arabia, China, South Korea, Cape Verde and South Africa, a steady growth in the sector is expected.
“Hundreds of goats and pigs continue to be traded into the Democratic Republic of Congo on a daily basis, with similar numbers that include cattle, going into Angola” He further adds.
Dr. Mwenya says that the local market is equally growing and very active evidenced by the 264, 430 trade related movement permits for cattle and goats that were issued in 2016 alone.
He reiterated that government made the right decision in prioritizing the livestock sector as an important component in the national economy.
“For this reason, there is an emphasis in the 7th National Development Plan that the livestock becomes one of the major foreign exchange earners as the country pushes it’s diversification agenda” Dr. Mwenya said.
He says in order to sustain the growth that the country is experiencing in the livestock sector, there is need to maintain the current export markets, penetrate new ones and also promote sector growth locally.
“For this to happen, there is need for the country to improve sanitary and phytosanitary measures to meet minimum acceptable international standards” Dr. Mwenya said.
Dr. Mwenya was speaking in a speech read on his behalf by Deputy Director of Veterinary Services Dr. FRANCIS MULENGA during the opening of the validation of veterinary legislation stakeholders workshop at Sandy’s creation in Lusaka.
He says gaps that have been identified in the legal framework as crucial to the enhancement of food safety, trade facilitation, effective service delivery, traceability and disease control have to be addressed.
“Following the enactment of Animal Health Act No. 27 of 2010 and the Animal Identification Act No. 28 of 2010, we need to put in place regulations to fully operationalize the Acts” He urged.
The workshop which draw stakeholders from the private sector (industry), fisheries and livestock officers and officers from the Ministry of Justice legal drafting section were to validate a total of 8 regulations, 6 under the Animal Health Act and 2 from the Animal Identification Act.
The regulations in the Animal Health Act include Importation and Exportation, Designated Border Inspection Points and Notifiable Diseases. The others are Tsetse Control Check Points, Declared Tsetse Fly Areas and Bee Keeping.
The two regulations under the Animal Identification Act are General Regulations and Animals Declared for Identification Marks Gazette Notice.
Dr. Mwenya thanked the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) for supporting and sending an expert to guide the process.
“We are grateful for the support we have continued to receive as a Ministry. As a country pushes to actualize the international export markets, more of such support will be needed from AU-IBAR in the near future” He said.
Meanwhile speaking earlier, AU-IBAR Director and Head of Mission AHMED EL-SAWALHY says livestock constitutes an important agriculture resource accounting for 40 to 80 percent of the GDP for most African countries.
Professor EL-SAWALHY says AU-IBAR is committed to support the priority domain of veterinary legislation of member states as they are key in regional integration and harmonization.
In a speech read on his behalf by AU-IBAR veterinary legislation expert Dr. SAMUEL MURIUKI, Professor EL-SAWALHY says validation of veterinary legislation in Zambia is important in providing feedback and input which is relevant to ownership amongst the stakeholders.