Livingstone, Wednesday, February 8, 2017: COMESA Secretariat and the African Union Inter African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) are working with the Zambian government to finalise different policies and regulations on livestock management and establishing the national Animal Resources Data Management Platform (ARDMP).

The ARDMP will aid in better managing and sharing data between different institutions, strengthening inter-institutional linkages and the making informed decisions in the development of the livestock industry.

To this effect, COMESA and AU-IBAR working through the Veterinary Governance Program (VET-GOV) organized a three day national Livestock Policy Hub stakeholder’s workshop in Livingstone, Zambia, from 8 February 2017. The event brought together experts from government, non-governmental organisations, civil society, research and academia to share experiences and lessons learned.

Permanent Secretary in the Zambian Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Dr David Shamulenge told the participants that the livestock sector in Zambia has continued to record positive growth and contributes 3.2% towards the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“The layers (chickens) sub-sector has a good and sustained growth record with table egg production growing from slightly above one million eggs in 2014 to an estimated production of over 1,200, 000 eggs by end of 2015”, Dr Shamulenge said in a speech presented by the Acting Director of Human Resource and Administration in the Ministry Ms Lois Mulube.

The PS said that several measures taken by the government to increase the productivity of milking animals has resulted in the significant increase in milk production from 463, 020 metric litres in 2014 to 524, 000 metric tonnes in 2015.

“The meat production registered a steady growth from 3,800 tonnes at the end of 2014 to 4, 100 tonnes at the end of 2015,” he said.

Under the National Agriculture Investment Plan 2014-2018, Dr Shamulenge explained that the overall strategic objective of the livestock component was to improve the sustainable and efficient production, productivity and value addition of diversified livestock sub-sector.

“It is common knowledge that about 80% of the country’s population depend on agricultural related livelihoods so we need to put in place appropriate livestock policies, strategies and legislation that will foster growth in this sector,” said Dr Shamulenge.

VET-GOV Programme Coordinator at COMESA Dr Yoseph Mamo commended the Zambian government for its commitment to finalize the policy documents which he noted will have a positive impact on the livestock sector development. He revealed that baseline information on livestock policies, legislation and strategies were collated and the main gaps identified.

Since its launch in 2012, the VET-GOV program has now attained continental coverage. It is being implemented through eight Regional Economic Communities in collaboration with the United Nations, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The project is funded by the African Union and the European Union.

Participants in the workshop discussed the livestock act, animal health regulations, the animal breeding policy, the poultry regulation and Apiculture regulation-all of which are in the final stage of completion.