Mon, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000
GOVERNMENT is targeting to employ 2,000 extension staff in order to improve the delivery of extension services across the country, Minister of Fisheries and Livestock Michael Katambo announced in Parliament. And Mr Katambo told the House that currently Zambia had a deficit of 80, 000 metric tons of fish which was met by importation.
Delivering his maiden speech in Parliament on Thursday evening, Mr Katambo said his ministry had embarked on numerous ambitious programmes aimed at enhancing livestock production and productivity. Mr Katambo, who is Masaiti Patriotic Front (PF) Member of Parliament, spelled out strategic focus of the fisheries and livestock sector.
Mr Katambo said in order to mitigate fish deficit Government had embarked on the promotion of aquaculture production (fish farming) through the development of aquaculture parks. He said the immediate objective was being able within three years to produce adequate fish and fisheries products to meet the national demand for fish of approximately 180, 000 metric tons per annum. He said the long term objective for Zambia was to be a net exporter of fish and fisheries products in the next five years. “The Government focus in the fisheries and livestock industry for the next five years will be in the developmental milestones that we shall endeavour to achieve in accordance with the Seventh National Development plan whose focus will be to achieve a resilient and diversified economy. “To attain a diversified economy, fisheries and livestock outputs have to play a bigger role both within the agriculture sector and the economy in general,” he said. He said in order to realise the above objectives, a fisheries policy would be finalised to create an enabling environment for growth of the sector by encouraging investment and the participation of the private sector. Mr Katambo said to improve on the quality of animals, his ministry had established 15 livestock breeding centres throughout the country. “These breeding centres are aimed at providing improved breeding stocks especially to our small scale farmers. For instance, 165 boran cattle and 67 boer goats at Mbesuma in Chinsali and Kanchindu in Sinazongwe respectively are ready for sale to the general public including small scale farmers,” he said. Mr Katambo said his ministry had established 152 livestock services centres, 54 milk collection centres and 17 artificial insemination services centres throughout the country. He also informed the House that his ministry had embarked on improving the safety and quality of beef through creation of an animal identification and traceable system in 2012 at an initial cost of the K3 million with support from the Italian government.