A commercial farmer in Mazabuka has appealed to Government to protect the dairy industry in the country by restricting the importation of milk and other products which have flooded the local market.
Owner of Kushiya farms Guy Robinson says the dairy industry is facing unfair competition from imported milk and other dairy products that have flooded the Zambian market.
Mr Robinson says jobs in the local dairy industry are seriously threatened unless government institutions measures that will restrict the inflow of imported dairy products.
He says while Zambia needed to comply with trade protocol of regional organisations to which the country is a member, there is need to institute remedial measures that will protect the local dairy industry from collapse due to unfair competition.
Mr Robinson said dairy producers in the country are facing a lot of challenges selling their produce because most chain stores and other retailers are flooded with imported milk and other products.
He said this will make it difficult for the local industry to expand and increase the number of job opportunities for the locals.
Mr Robison was speaking when Southern province minister Edify Hamukale visited the farm in Mazabuka today.
He told the minister that dairy farmers in Mazabuka and other parts of southern province were also experiencing difficulties in getting laboratory results for the mandatory testing of dairy animals from the Central Veterinary Research Institute based in Lusaka.
MR Robinson complained that this situation was making it difficult for dairy farmers to market their produce which could only be sold after animals have been cleared of any disease.
But Dr Hamukale said he will engage the ministry of livestock and fisheries to consider building capacity at the Zambia Institute of Animal Husbandry in Mazabuka so that farmers in the province will not be inconvenienced by taking animal samples to Lusaka for laboratory tests.
It is mandatory that dairy animals should be tested for endemic diseases such asFoot and Mouth Disease, East Coast Fever and also ontagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), an infectious disease of lungs in cattle caused by Mycoplasma mycoides subsp mycoides
Dr Hamukale said the provincial admininstration is working on a programme of promoting the setting up of processing industries in areas of high milk production so that milk is not sold in its raw form but finished products as put of the thrust to implement value chains.