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Government hands over livestock to Eastern Province

 

By

Machona Kasambala

The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock has handed over livestock worth over K280, 000 to farmers in Nyimba and Petauke districts of Eastern Province.

Fisheries and Livestock Minister Nkandu Luo said the livestock that include chickens and goats is meant to empower households to access good nutrition and incomes under the Livestock Stocking and Restocking Programme.

Professor Luo said government through the Enhanced Smallholder Livestock Investment Programme (E-SLIP) is targeting to empower Zambians especially those in the rural to own livestock through the ‘One Livestock per Household Policy’ that was recently launched by President Edgar Chagwa Lungu.

Speaking when she handed over 600 kuroiler chickens and 440 goats to different farmer groups in Nyimba and Petauke districts, Professor Luo said more farmers and communities will be empowered with livestock using the ‘pass-on-the gift’ concept.

“The livestock that government is giving you today are not just for you to eat and sell, we expect you to keep them well and after they have multiplied, you are to give the offspring to other farmers so that more people have access to livestock,” she said.

Professor Luo described the Livestock Stocking and Restocking programme as a ‘game changer’ as many lives will be transformed through improved incomes from the sale of livestock and livestock products and improved nutrition from consumption of protein rich foods.

“I am looking forward to a situation where when I visit the palace of Senior Chief Kalindawalo I am served a glass of fresh milk because milk is a complete food,” she said.

She added that government’s objective of increasing production and productivity of the livestock is being realized through the empowerment of livestock and appealed to farmers to request for any type of livestock other than chickens and goats.

And speaking in Sichibande village in Nyimba district, area Member of Parliament Olipa Phiri said the handover is an answer to the persistent cries for empowerment by the women and youths in her area.

“People in my area have always been crying, we want development, we want development, development has now come and it is now up to us to improve our livelihoods,” Ms. Phiri said.

Ms. Phiri who is also Minister in the office of the Vice President says those who have been empowered with the livestock should also empower others so that poverty level in her constituency is addressed.

Meanwhile 3,505 calves in Petauke district have been immunized against East Coast Fever disease under the Enhanced Smallholder livestock Investment Programme. (ESLIP)

Petauke district commissioner Velenasi Moyo says out of the 4,000 calves targeted to be immunized during this year’s routine vaccination programme, about 495 calves are yet to be vaccinated.

Ms. Moyo disclosed that her district has a population of 117, 767 cattle and the immunization of cattle is very critical towards eradicating East Coast Fever disease which is not only endemic to Petauke but Eastern Province as a  whole.

“We appeal to the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock to ensure that liquid nitrogen facilities where the vaccine is stored are readily available to complete the immunization as we rely on the facilities in Chipata.” She said.

Ms. Moyo said this when Fisheries and Livestock Minister Nkandu Luo paid a courtesy call at her office.

Professor Luo said her ministry is developing an animal health policy that will deal with East Coast Fever and other livestock diseases affecting livestock in the country.

Professor Luo says once developed, the animal health strategy will address the prevalent occurrences of diseases that are a major challenge to the growth of the livestock sector.

She says the focus of the animal health policy will be to prevent diseases as opposed to the current situation of controlling diseases whenever there is an outbreak.

Professor Luo says her ministry will set up livestock clinics and ensure that farmers look after their livestock in the same way they do with human health.

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