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State urged to establish more cattle extension service centres

GOVERNMENT does not only subsidise production costs for horticulture farming in Mkushi but also animal husbandry.

TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT has been urged to establish more extension service education centres in cattle husbandry to help increase beef production among smallholder farmers.
Lack of proper extension services in cattle husbandry which is an important aspect of running a beef business to meet animal health and welfare standards is one of the factors that are hindering the development of beef production among small-scale farmers in the country.
This is according to the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI)’s policy brief highlighting factors limiting smallholder cattle commercialisation in Zambia.
“The policy brief highlights critical issues that need to be considered in addressing the challenges that limit smallholder commercialisation. To address the problems associated with herd size and beef production, there is a need to deal with factors affecting the reproductive system such as low conception rates and disease management among others.
“Extension education in cattle husbandry should, therefore, emphasize the importance of animal nutrition, such as feed management,” he said.
The institute says due to lack of extension services, most farmers are affected by disease outbreaks and regional quarantines which affects investments in cattle markets as limited number of cattle are sold through formalised channels.
IAPRI says dealing with the outbreak of diseases and regional quarantines requires the expansion of investment in healthy cattle management by strengthening of veterinary services delivery through scaling up current vaccination campaigns, and addressing the challenges associated with vaccination campaigns such as improved transport for veterinary assistants.
The report states that effective implementation of the proposed recommendations requires increased and sustained public and private sector investment to support smallholder cattle production and marketing.
The institute says the public and private sector can help the sector to grow by investing in physical infrastructure, technology innovations through research and development.
IAPRI also says the beef markets are highly seasonal, thinly traded, and extremely concentrated and the combination of these factors limits the effectiveness of the industry to achieve transformation impacts on rural poverty reduction.



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