By NOEL IYOMBWA and JOHN KOMBE
THE continued importation of pork products when the local market has enough pigs must be stopped, a small-scale pig farmer Paul Njovu has said.
And an emerging farmer Sunday Chanda said there was need for deliberate regulation to safeguard the interests of the small-scale farmers in the country.
Mr Njovu, a manager at Chinyama Pig Farms in Katuba area of Chisamba district, refuted claims that the country had a shortage of pigs.
He said that the truth was that some processing companies were offering a very low price and yet it was importing pork at a higher price.
Mr Njovu said that this had demotivated the pig farmers who opt to sell their pigs to retailers and butchery owners for a better price.
He called on processing companies to relook into the price so as to attract the local farmers.
And a member of the Small-Scale Pig Farmers Association of Zambia who sought anonymity said that the practice by some meat processing companies was sabotage of the worst kind.
He said that the local farmers were being offered as low as K46 per kg when the imported product was being sourced at about K81 per kg.
The source said that this was unacceptable and must be investigated and brought to a halt if the local emerging farmer were to make any gains.
He said that the price of feed on the other products keep on increasing.
Meanwhile, Mr Chanda who is PF Kanchibiya parliamentary candidate said some companies were importing products such as pork at higher prices when the same can be sourced locally from emerging pig growers.
He observed that some bigger players in the industry were getting away with what he termed as “murder” through practices that go against the nation’s aspirations to give emerging opportunities to grow and graduate into commercial farmers.
Mr Chanda noted that the excuse given was lack of capacity yet local emerging farmers had been able to meet demand for other agricultural products.
He called on the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) to protect Zambian small-scale farmers from exploitation by players in the industry.
“We hear of companies for example importing pork from outside Zambia and at higher prices when the same can be sourced locally from our emerging pig growers.
“These things cannot be happening when Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is watching,” he said.
He also called on the CCPC to investigate reports that Hybrid Poultry Farms is not honouring its commitments to some small scale poultry farmers who are being turned away at a point when there orders are supposed to be due.
Mr Chanda said that CCPC must take interest in the matter because small scale farmers tie their working capital to Hybrid’s mandatory deposits which they pay in order to secure their bookings, and only to be turned away when the order date falls due.
He described this as malpractice which must not be allowed to happen.
“So we are calling on CCPC to immediately take interest in this matter and ensure justice is done for the emerging farmers.
“CCPC and other players in the industry, including the Ministries responsible must ensure the small scale farmer continues to play an important role in the value chain as they cater to most of the local market and average income household.
“If the small scale farmer is cut out and out growers supply foreign unaffordable chain stores and exports; who will supply our own citizens? This must not be allowed to continue, “ he said.
He further called for more regulation to protect the small scale farmers adding that poultry farmers are forced to tie their six week working capital cycle to six months.