NANCY SIAME, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT will next year construct a veterinary laboratory in Lusaka at a cost of over US$100 million to reduce disease burden on livestock in the country.
Minister of Fisheries and Livestock Greyford Monde said the initiative is aimed at enabling Government to detect livestock diseases in their early stages to avoid breakouts and deaths.
â€œThis would give us ample time to fight livestock diseases and be able to contain them so that we have healthy livestock to enable us grow the sector,â€ he said.
Mr Monde said the laboratory will have modern-day technology which could attract neighbouring countries to come and use the facility.
â€œRight now, detecting diseases is a challenge because we are not up-to-date in terms of technology, hence the need for us to advance,â€ he said in an interview on Tuesday.
Mr Monde said the construction of regional livestock laboratories has started with some already being completed.
â€œRegional laboratories have been built in Mongu and Chipata [that] are already operational while works in Ndola, Choma, Solwezi and Kasama have advanced,â€ he said.
The regional laboratories will be used as referral centres for disease detection from districts and specimen collection among other things to decongest the already existing laboratory in Lusaka.
Mr Monde said for a long time, farmers depended on the central laboratory in Lusaka which is usually congested with too much work thereby causing delays in the results.
He said Government wants to grow the livestock sector for the countryâ€™s consumption and exports hence the need to combat diseases that hamper the growth.
Meanwhile, Government will in January announce the livestock census so that the public can know the current number of livestock in Zambia.
â€œIn January, I will announce the livestock census so that the country can be informed and know whether we have enough [animals] or not,â€ Mr Monde said.
NANCY SIAME, Lusaka