ZNFU sees red over new veterinary fees

Sat, 14 Jan 2017 11:07:12 +0000



 THE Statutory Instrument no. 105 of 2016 by the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock to introduce veterinary services fees for farmers seeking Government assistance is defective and will be a source of corruption, says Zambia National Farmers Union president Jervis Zimba.

Mr Zimba argued that the ministry was going against President Edgar Lungu’s directive to have these ministries as a priority and a backbone of the country’s economic growth.

He wondered why the ministry was doing something contrary to the Head of State’s efforts to improve the agriculture sector. Mr Zimba said the levies that were introduced by Fisheries and Livestock Ministry were defective and not user-friendly because they were frustrating Government efforts to improve the agriculture sector.

The Minister of Fisheries and Livestock signed the Statutory Instrument number 105 of 2016, the Animal health (veterinary services fees schedule) Order 2016 to hike fees for basic livestock services such as permits, licenses and disease control.

Now farmers will be required to pay K50 for meat inspection per animal, and another K50 for culture examination per sample, among other levies.

But the ZNFU chief believed that the farmers’ income would be eroded by the high levies they would pay for all the vital services they needed.

“For a veterinary officer to do the service they are paid for and also the distance covered; above all if a farmer had to pay for each and every animal they have, how much will they have? And we are talking about a Government institution, not the private sector,” he said.  Mr Zimba said ZNFU was calling for a stakeholder meeting to discuss and study the matter to find a way forward. “They are so many changes that might affect the agriculture sector which is now a priority sector, and coming with such incentives will work to the disadvantage of farmers. ‘‘These are small scale farmers we are talking about and such developments are deterring interests of farming as a business,” he said.

He urged the Government to revert the ministry to the veterinary portfolio if it does not want to work against the interests of poor farmers who were feeding the Zambian population.

“Can the Ministry Fisheries and Livestock be declared as a private sector because effecting such incentives to farmers who were feeding the nation was detrimental to the economy. ‘‘President Lungu announces something and the ministry goes a different way. What are they up to? This is unfair especially to farmers who are facing challenges already,” he said.



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