ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
THE Zambia Goats and Sheep Task Force (ZGSTF) has finalised all administrative works for the facilitation of goats and sheep exports to Saudi Arabia.
In January this year, a taskforce comprising of ministries of Livestock and Fisheries, Agriculture, Commerce, Trade and Industry and the representatives from the private sector was formed to develop a roadmap that will help expedite the process of goat and sheep commercialisation in Zambia.
It was also tasked to supply quality products for export to Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East.
ZGSTF secretary David Chonde said the taskforce is currently waiting for a delegation from Saudi Arabia to formalise the modalities for the goats and sheep commercialisation process.
In an interview at the just-ended 91st Agricultural and Commercial Show, Mr Chonde said Zambia is also considering value addition after it completes with the veterinary requirements, which is almost at 80 percent done.
“We are at an advanced stage with the implementation of the goats and sheep export to Saudi Arabia. We just want to ensure that we satisfy their market requirement. Most of the desk work has been done and we are expecting the Saudi Arabia team in the country,” he said.
Mr Chonde said the taskforce will ensure that it promotes stakeholders’ participation to enable all value chain players to achieve a fair market share.
He said farmers and other stakeholders have been encouraged to form co-operatives to strengthen their bargaining power.
“Forming big groups will help reduce the cost of doing business and increase the chances of accessing other services such as loans.
“We want this programme to be private sector-driven. Farmers are being encouraged to create strong co-operatives so that they can come up with good business investment plans.
Currently, we are sensitising all stakeholders on the importance of the commercialisation programme,” Mr Chonde said.
Mr Chonde said the initiative will help small-scale farmers penetrate other markets and increase their income levels.
Zambia’s goat population is estimated to be at about 4.8 million and over 150,000 sheep.