Business

Zambia explores sheep exports

ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
LAST WEEK, President Lungu emphasised the need to explore the opportunities that exists in the livestock sector in transforming Zambia’s economy.
The President explained that the livestock sector has the potential to contribute to wealth creation as well as poverty reduction.

Currently, the sector contributes about 3.6 percent to the overall gross domestic product and 42 percent to the agricultural gross domestic.

Opening the second session of the 12th National Assembly under theme “Moving towards prosperous Smart Zambia in peace and tranquillity without leaving anyone behind,” President Lungu explained the importance of the sector as one of the diversification tool.
He says the market opportunities for small livestock such as goats and sheep is vast, therefore, Government is actively exploring the Saudi Arabia market.
“Given our abundant water and pasture land, the sector has great potential to drive our diversification agenda. Saudi Arabia alone, has expressed interest to import over one million goats and sheep from Zambia per annum,” the President added.
To realise its dream, Government is supporting livestock development through the construction of modern infrastructure for livestock breeding, milk collection and satellite artificial insemination service centres.
The livestock service centres are intended to be used as extension service delivery points.
“I am happy to report that we now have 16 livestock breeding centres across the country. Out of these, four centres namely Kanchindu in Sinazongwe, Mbesuma in Chinsali, Mukulaikwa in Shibuyunji and Kanyama in Mwinilunga are now offloading improved breeding stock to eligible beneficiaries,” the President explained.
Government is keen to ensure that the overall success in the goat and sheep deal be driven by private sector investment as it continue to play its role of improving the policy and business environment.
Because of its importance to economic growth, 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, 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 says the taskforce is currently, waiting for a delegation from Saudi Arabia to formalise the modalities for the goats and sheep commercialisation process.
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 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,” Mr Chonde said.
The taskforce will ensure that it promotes stakeholders’ participation to enable all value chain players achieve a fair market share.
Therefore, the inclusion of farmers and other stakeholders is being encouraged through the formation of co-operatives to strengthen their bargaining power.
Doing so, will also help reduce the cost of doing business and increase the chances of accessing other services such as loans. The initiative will help small-scale farmers penetrate other markets and increase their income levels
“We want this programme to be private sector-driven. Farmers are being encouraged to create strong cooperatives 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.
Zambia’s goat population is estimated to be at about 4.8 million and over 150,000 sheep.
Responding to the drive of private sector participation, Avlow Development Company Limited (ADCL), a local firm and the Islamic Supreme Council of Zambia (ISCZ) last week expressed its interest to see that this revenue generating venture comes to fruition.
To this effect, the two entities have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote livestock exports and other agricultural produce to Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.
ADCL executive director Mubanga Chanda explained that the MoU is aimed at developing a dynamic partnership to enable the two parties to ultimately foster agricultural growth in Zambia and to create the much-need jobs for the local populace especially, the youths.
ADCL has since secured a farm in Shibuyunji where goats will be breed to the required standards before exported to Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.
“The emphasis is on the need to strengthen, deepen and broaden cooperation in agriculture for the export markets between the two firms while taking into account the importance of ADCL and ISCZ as equal partners in developing the sector with emphasis on sheep and goats,” Mr Chanda notes.
Government has created an enabling business environment that encourages the private sector to thrive.
The livestock sector is indeed one of the areas that most Zambians should consider venturing into as it provides a platform for them to grow their income levels.

 



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