Mpika to Become Hub of Goat Breeding

AFTER President Michael Sata’ statement early this year on the demand of small ruminants in the Middle East for meat products, Mpika District of Muchinga Province has been earmarked for a livestock project.

The project will see the district become the hub of goat meat products and a source of improved breeds for small-scale farmers which will be accessed from the Luchembe Goat Breeding Centre.

The K3.2 million Goat Breeding Centre project covers more than 300 hectares of land, is situated 25 kilometres west of Mpika Boma in Chief Luchembe’s are.

The project started its activities last year following the government’s first disbursement of K140,000 project funds to the district.

Dr Hachuundu says the setting up of a steering committee which is headed by Mpika District Commissioner Catherine Chama and other staff from the line ministries has been done.

The stakeholders involved includes the Ministry of Community Development, Mpika District Council, buildings department, various departments from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Zambia College of Agriculture part of the implementation of the project.

He announced that this year government has allocated K750,000 towards the implementation of the Goat Breeding centre.

“It is a mammoth task of setting up the Breeding Centre, and we expect to construct staff houses, office block as well as purchase implements such as hammer mills and tractor,” Dr Hachuundu said.

He said the breeding centre needed to acquire implements for processing hay, a borehole, an overhead tank and fencing wire to secure the centre.

Dr Hachuundu said the project was in the process of recruiting a manager and a sizeable workforce to run the daily activities at the centre.

He said the breeding centre will have fish ponds and orchards which would be fed by manure from the goats and tap water from Lwitikila River.

Mpika District veterinary officer Wilson Katumbi says the project will benefit the farming community because of better and improved breeds of goats at affordable price.

Dr Katumbi urged the farming community to ensure they maximise the facility, which has been brought close to the district to supply the small livestock to the entire province.

He says the Goat Breeding Centre will be a source of better breeds that farmers can purchase and cross- breed with their local breeds to improve their local breeds for increased meat and milk production.

Dr Katumbi, however, lamented that the local breeds were not competitive on the market due to the small size that gives low meat production.

“The facility will provide the much bigger and improved breeds that will be able to give the livestock farmer better results for milk and meat products,” he stressed.

With the escalating prices of fertilisers, it will be convenient for farmers to adopt this cost-effective measure in producing their agricultural produce,” he said.

Dr Katumbi says the presence of the modern housing structures to be constructed at the breeding centre as a good and convenient site where the farmers can be exposed to learn the management practices that promote good production in goat rearing.

He, however, aised that there was need for other enterprises to be incorporated at the breeding centre citing issues of the natural amount that the centre will be endowed with.

“What the general farming community should bear in mind is that agriculture integration is the way to go in this time when the world is shifting from the use of organic fertilisers to inorganicnoting that the land in question, where this site is situated is very conducive for most enterprises,” Dr Katumbi said

Dr Katumbi says the easy adaptability nature of goats and its adaptability to animal diseases should be the basis for farmers to seriously take into consideration when taking livestock as a business venture.

Moreover, Dr Katumbi said livestock rearing is not as labour tensive as crop production.

He cited fisheries and vegetable production as other enterprises that would be integrated on the farm site.

Luchembe Camp Agriculture Committee chairperson Peter Chingaipe, who could not hide his zeal to benefit when the programme starts, has appealed to his fellow farmers to embrace this development because the initiation of the breeding centre was in line with government’s policy of diversifying.

Mr Chingaipe urged the people to ensure that they put their efforts together in protecting the facility that is expected to bring development to the area.

He said the department of livestock should also provide trainings to would-be beneficiaries in order to enhance good management practices.

Mr Chingaipe said farmers will be looking forward to receive include disease control and general management involved in goat rearing as part of training.

Healso alluded to the fact that farmers in the district have not been known to be herdsmen therefore, it was time to start looking at small livestock farming not as a practice but as a business.

Mr Chingaipe expressed optimism that the project will yield positive results going by the favourable climatic conditions and paid his gratitude to both his Royal Highness Chief Luchembe for giving government the piece of land for the project.

The Luchembe Goat Breeding centre will be among the many centres that Government has put in place across the country to ensure that local livestock farmers have access to high breeds for small livestock as well as boost the livestock sector.

In this regard, the willingness of the Government to promote livestock production and integration in agricultural development tells volumes with the onset of this project, which seeks to boost the livestock sector, while on the other hand, the response from the farming community to make this initiative a success and viable, is yet to be seen as it unfolds in Mpika District and creates a spell over effect to other districts in the province.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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