Fisheries and Livestock Minister Professor NKANDU LUO has called upon livestock farmers in the country to venture into pasture and forage production in order to boost the livestock sector.
Professor LUO said the sector can only thrive if farmers do not only concentrate on keeping livestock but also begin to grow food for their animals.
Professor LUO says unless animals are fed the right pastures, they cannot grow to the size that is required for the market hence, the need to grow pasture that will help improve their nutrition.
Speaking during a briefing of provincial ministers on the programmes in the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock in Lusaka, Professor LUO said issues of animal health should be put into consideration in order to reduce livestock diseases.
“There is need to properly manage pasture and forage as it has the potential to help eradicate livestock diseases such as tick bone and Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) among others,” she said.
Professor Luo said the ministry is currently engaging various stakeholders in the livestock sector such as research institutions and universities to find better ways of increasing livestock production.
And Southern Province Minister Edify Hamukale has observed the need to educate smallholder livestock farmers on the importance of pasture and forage production.
Dr. Hamukale said many farmers have not yet embraced the technology due to less information on the ground resulting into low livestock production.
Dr. Hamukale urged small scale livestock farmers to change their mind set and adopt good farming practices that will help them produce more pasture for the good health of their livestock thereby improving their living conditions.
Dr. Hamukale said FMD that has negatively affected many animals in Southern province due to poor diet hence the need for farmers to acquire enough knowledge that will help manage their animals.
“FMD has had a huge negative impact on the small scale livestock farmers as they are directly dependent on livestock for their livelihood,” said Dr. Hamukale.
He stated that programmes aimed at eradicating FMD create huge costs to government and can be reduced if farmers adopt pasture and forage production.
He has further called on all farmers to grow pasture as it can be preserved and used at a later time as opposed to depending on the natural pasture which is not always available especially during the dry season. ENDS/JM/NAIS/Lusaka