MWILA NTAMBI, Mansa
ZAMBEEF says livestock restocking is one of the most effective tools that can be used to boost the cattle population in Luapula
Making a presentation titled `The value and potential of livestock farming in Luapula Province’, a Zambeef representative Yamvwa Muchepa said the cattle population in Luapula Province is too low compared with the conducive environment that the province is endowed with in terms of livestock farming.
“The entire Luapula Province has a cattle population of 13,000, with Mansa being the highest at 4,500 and Chiengi being the lowest with only 14 cattle. This is extremely low,” Mr Muchepa said.
He said this at the ongoing Luapula Expo in Mansa.
He said the scenario was not good because the province had abundant grazing land, adequate water bodies and was free of diseases such as foot and mouth as well as east coast fever which were a threat to animal populations in other parts of the country.
“So, there is a lot of work that needs to be done here in Luapula if you have to consider the amount of land that we have and the rivers and so on,” Mr Muchepa said.
He said there is need to educate the farming community in Luapula on the need to understand livestock as a business because a number of them do not attach any value to their animals and can sale them at a giveaway prices.
Mr Muchepa said most people that keep livestock in Luapula do it as a social activity and do not look at the broader economic benefits that they can derive from keeping animals.
He said there is also a belief that only people from Southern Province can keep animals.
Mr Muchepa said in order to address these challenges and increase the livestock population in Luapula, there is need for a vigorous campaign to educate farmers in the area on the benefits of livestock farming.
Meanwhile, Sinazongwe district commissioner Protacio Mulenga is saddened by the reduction in the number of beneficiaries on the Farmers Input Support Programme (FISP) from 22,000 to 3,000, reports MIKE MUGALA in Lusaka.
Mr Mulenga has appealed to the Ministry of Agriculture to look into the matter and address the situation.
Speaking in an interview with the Sunday Mail on Thursday, Mr Mulenga said the situation is critical and must be addressed before farmers start preparing for the next farming season.
“I can confirm that the number of beneficiaries of FISP in my district has been reduced from 22,000 to 3,000. I have on several occasions engaged the FISP coordinator in Lusaka but he also expressed ignorance on the matter.
“This situation is unacceptable and as district commissioner I will not seat idly by but will ensure that this issue is properly addressed so that our farmers can benefit from the programme,” he said.