GOVERNMENT is under pressure to ban imported beef, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Wylbur Simuusa has said.
Mr Simuusa said farmers in the country are arguing that imported meat and other beef products are pushing local producers out of business.
The farmers want a ban on beef imports because the products, which might be subsidised in their countries of origin, are selling cheaply on the Zambian market, and disadvantaging local producers and
“distorting the cost” of the Zambian-produced products.
The ministry has received a number of requests from local cattle-breeders who say the ban on imported beef is long overdue, urging the government to act now.
“We are under pressure as a ministry to ban imports of beef products in Zambia because the imported products are selling cheaply on the local market,” he said in an interview in Chingola after touring Luano farm block.
He said Government will not move in immediately but will have to find a lasting solution on how best to grow the herd to lower the cost of beef locally.
It will soon call for a meeting with stakeholders on the way forward on the matter.
“Banning of imported beef is not a solution, but as a ministry, we have to find out how other countries are able to export the commodity that is selling cheaply on our local market, because it is the same cow produced in other states which is also being sold at a higher price locally,” he said.
Mr Simuusa, who is Nchanga member of Parliament, said Government is committed to promoting Zambia’s livestock industry.
Government is restocking animals in ranches as a way of promoting the sector, which will turn Zambia into a regional beef exporter.
Government is ensuring that animal vaccination is conducted across the country to reduce outbreaks of cattle diseases.
“Animal vaccination will result in growing the national herd,” he said
Mr Simuusa is optimistic that Zambia will join beef exporters in the region following concerted efforts to support the livestock sector.
Zambia Daily Mail