Cattle disease outbreaks affecting Zambia’s Beef export


THE Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) says Zambia’s beef production has been plagued by disease outbreaks affecting its productivity and exports.
And Western Province Permanent Secretary Emmanuel Mwamba says there is need for the country to fight livestock diseases if Zambia is to increase cattle population and supply the region. The country’s cattle population stands at 3 million animals with 20.3 million hectares identified as suitable for livestock grazing.
In a statement issued to the Daily Mail ZNFU media liaison officer Calvin Kaleyi said the country’s national herd can easily reach 10 million animals with the available pastureland.
“Currently the demand for both choice and standard beef is outstripping the country’s capacity to supply. This is reflected with the requests for importation approval from the bigger companies both for the importation of choice carcasses and standard meat for processing in 2010/2011,” he said.
Mr Kaleyi said Zambia is not competitive in supplying the regional beef market due to high prices offered by the domestic market.
He said the market growth for meat is estimated at 5 to 7 percent per annum attributed to an emerging middle class with increased buying power.
He also noted that poultry sales have doubled in the last three years while beef sales have increased by 30 percent.
“The increase in beef sales has mainly been attributed to unavailability of beef for sale from local producers, resulting in sharp price increases for beef, thus suppressing demand,” he said.
Mr Kaleyi said commercial and small- scale producers are now investing in breeding stock by buying female animals due to the high beef prices.
In a separate interview, Mr Mwamba said Government is promoting livestock disease management in Western |rovince.
“The livestock industry was neglected and we want to ensure that we revive the livestock services such as deep tank and constant vaccinations.
This will enable the lifting of the ban on cattle movement from Western Province,” he said.
He said poverty levels in Western Province can easily be tackled if supported by livestock farming.
He said Government is also promoting crops such as cashew nuts that are currently the most expensive nuts on the world market.
He said Government is further working on promoting fishing industry such as fish farming in the province.
Mr Mwamba said secondary industry such as leather tannery and cashew nut processing plant can also be revived if the agriculture sector was boosted in the province.
“The enemy we have are diseases such as contagious bovine pleuro
pneumonia and foot and mouth. This has resulted in poverty, ban on movement of animals which has affected the export of our beef while our friends Namibia and Botswana export to Europe,” he said.