Agriculture and Livestock Deputy Minister Greyford Monde says small-holder dairy farming has potential to enhance the development of the dairy industry in Zambia.
Mr Monde said Government realises the key role that small-holder dairy farmers play in the alleviation of poverty in rural areas.
He revealed that Government had so far constructed 50 milk collection centres in the country and milk production had increased from 128 million litres per year in 2005 to 452 million litres per year in 2013.
He was speaking during the 6th Annual Dairy competition prize-giving event held in Chisamba yesterday.
Mr Monde said that advice and guaidnace was given on nutrition, artificial insemination and genetics among others, during the various field days that were held earlier this year for more than 200 small-scale dairy farmers in Namwala, Choma and Monze.
Speaking at the same event, former Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) President Guy Robinson called on Government to consider promoting small-holder farmers in the country to boost the
agriculture sector and realise its full potential in alleviating poverty particularly in the rural areas.
Mr Robinson said the enthusiasm from the small-holder farmers in the agricultural sector needed to be nurtured.
He also appealed to Government to consider reducing on hand-outs during the budgeting process and instead protect local farmers from the influx of cheap agricultural commodities from outside the country.
Meanwhile, a South Africa- based farmer Andrew Masterson, who was one of the judges during the competition, also asked Government to create a level playing field in the dairy industry between small-holder and commercial farmers.
Mr Masterson said small-holder farmers showed a lot of enthusiasm during the field days that preceded the prize giving ceremony adding that this could not be ignored because it was a recipe for growth in the industry.
He said the field days were a sign that Government had not neglected small-scale farmers and called for a stronger partnership between the private sector and Government to up their participation in future dairy competitions.
About 80 small-holder dairy farmers came from different parts of the country and participated in the field day held at the ZAMBEEF Kalundu dairy farm.
Times of Zambia