ZAMBEEF Reiterates Support for Zambia’s Livestock Sector

Zambeef has doubled the price it pays to small-scale farmers for their cattle in the last year, the company has revealed.

The rise was triggered by a shortage of cattle in the market due to the 2018/19 drought, increased competition, and a growing demand for meat, explained Zambeef’s Chief Operations Officer Mike Lovett.

He was speaking as President Edgar Chagwa Lungu officiated at the National Cattle Field Day in Namwala hosted by the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) and Namwala District Farmers Association, in collaboration with Zambeef at Chikuzu Farm, Maiya Village in Chief Mukobela’s Chiefdom of Namwala District in Southern Province.

Mr Lovett “So now, the primary production of livestock is very profitable, with small-scale cattle farmers benefiting greatly from the price increase. This is expected to continue and will result in more small farmers rearing cattle.”

And he called on the livestock and wider farming community to be ‘relentless’ in promoting agriculture, as the industrialisation of the sector would only be possible if farmers across the spectrum were on-board.

Mr Lovett stated that consistent implementation of deliberate policies aimed at bringing about positive growth for both farmers and businesses at both national and industry level was a key part of the effort.

“This is the agenda we must keep pushing, and this is the momentum we must keep building up on if we are to achieve industrialisation in the sector. In this way everyone wins,” said Mr Lovett.

He pointed to the success of such an approach as seen in the impact that Zambeef has had on the social economic landscape of the country. He noted 80 percent of Zambeef’s cattle are sourced from small-scale farmers, providing a ready market for them, particularly in Namwala where Zambeef has been actively supporting the farmers since 2004.

“In our quest for growth, I am proud to say that we have not left our local farmers behind, as evidenced by the families whose lives have changed through supplying to Zambeef,” said Mr Lovett.

He explained that as a result Zambeef has been able to consistently tap into this resource as more farmers graduated from small-scale to become commercial farmers.

Some 20 years ago Zambeef empowered small-scale farmers with grants and interest-free loans to expand on their cattle herds, and supported them with breeding stock. Individuals, such as Nato Milimo, who started out with delivering three cattle per month, have since grown and he now supplies 2,000 animals a month, enabling him to give the best education to his children. Another farmer, Kelvin Puka, now supplies 3,000 animals a month – setting a record for the highest number of animals supplied by an individual in the country.

“Such stories are testimony to the potential the livestock sector has of creating wealth for our people, who in turn have created jobs for others. This is true wealth and prosperity at work,” said Mr Lovett.

Zambeef has also set up live-cattle buying centres across the country, allowing even the farmer supplying one animal to have easy access to the market and to sell at a more decent price than through a middleman, and endeavours to pay farmers on the very day they supply. In addition, Zambeef provides transport for deliveries to the centres to help reduce costs of doing business for the farmers. In the event where this is not possible, the company refunds them all transport costs incurred in delivering the animals.

Mr Lovett thanked the government for the various infrastructure development programmes, and interventions in curbing foot and mouth disease (FMD) and other diseases and appealed for more targeted and intensified infrastructure development in the transport sector and road network as these were crucial for reducing costs of doing business and boost the livestock trade into the region.

“As Zambeef and indeed the farming community, we are prepared to put in the hard work – and is in fact used to it – required to achieve the shared vision of becoming an agriculture hub in Southern Africa and surrounding regions. Not only are we rightly positioned but also are endowed with the necessary resources to do so.”

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