TRYNESS MBALE, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT has urged the Poultry Association of Zambia (PAZ) to be transparent with production figures as improper statistics could lead to a policy decision that would end up stifling the local industry.
Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Given Lubinda said Government wants to ensure that the poultry sector and associated industries are accorded all the necessary support to ensure production is commercially viable.
Mr Lubinda was commenting on concerns surrounding the issuance of import permits when he officiated at the PAZ annual general meeting (AGM) on Friday under the theme growth and market challenges.
He said, â€œImport protocols have been developed with the input from the stakeholders to address the issue of chicken imports and mechanically deboned meat.â€
Mr Lubinda, however, said lack of adherence to what was agreed upon in December 2014 on import protocol was not working, thereby considering to reverting to the old system of consulting the relevant stakeholders before issuing import permits.
â€œI am directing my officers in the ministry to revert back to the old systemâ€¦PAZ should play a significant role also in effective monitoring of the markets, [especially] more on the imports and engage my ministry for any suspicious products,â€ he said
The minister said Government has recognised that imports will never build the country.
He also said the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock will engage the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and Ministry of Finance on the issue of putting a specific description and code for mechanically deboned meat to differentiate it from chicken parts as is the case now.
Government has almost finalised the livestock development bill which will have complete poultry regulations in its quest to promote the sector.
Mr Lubinda said the road map for the bill has since been developed and agreed upon with the stakeholders through an expeditious process.
â€œGovernment has initiated a policy to allow interaction and exchange of ideas with specialised commodity associations like PAZ. This is to create enabling business environment and help re-position the local industry for growth, prosperity and profitability,â€ he said.
TRYNESS MBALE, Lusaka