Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, Nkandu Luo has handed over 50 goats and 800 chickens to cooperatives in Mushindamo district.
Speaking during the handover ceremony, Professor Luo said government wants to eliminate poverty and improve livelihood of the people through various interventions that include enhanced small holder investment project (E-SLIP), whose aim is to increase livestock in the community.
She said President Edgar Lungu is concerned with the high poverty levels in the country hence is working hard to ensure every household is economically stable.
“This programme of giving livestock to cooperatives is one of the things the President has identified that can help the community have enough livestock for nutritional benefit and economic stability,” she said.
Prof. Luo said for the E-SLIP programme to work effectively under the pass on programme, there is need for people to have a change of mindset from always thinking about food to rearing animals for business.
“We need mindset change if this programme is going to work. The problem we have is that some of you will want to consume these chickens and goats instead of rearing them so that they can increase in number. Once we work on increasing livestock in Mushindamo, we can have some for food and sell others so that we have money in our pockets,” she said.
The minister has since urged the recipients of the animals to care for them so as to keep them disease free and preventing them from dying.
“One other problem that Africans have is that they do not take care of their animals. For instance, many chickens sleep in trees, goats and cattle outside, so how do you expect chickens to lay eggs and cattle to produce milk when they are not properly cared for?” she asked.
Prof. Luo said if the benefiting cooperatives do not want to invest in proper care and management of the animals, they should declare interest and let others that have the desire to look after livestock get them.
Meanwhile, Mushindamo District Commissioner, Sylvia Kalamba has commended government for the empowerment programme that has benefited 32 cooperatives in the district.
Ms. Kalamba said this form of empowerment is a first of its kind in Mushindamo and has delighted the residents.
She said the distribution of goats and chickens under the E-SLIP project will help increase livestock and help families be self-sustainable.
“Allow me to mention that the livestock industry in Zambia is increasingly becoming an important component of our country’s economy. This is because livestock production has huge potential to enhance socio-economic development, national food and nutritional security among citizens,” she said.
She said the chickens and goats which the cooperatives have received will also enable small scale farmers in the district to be self-sustainable and develop economically.
The District Commissioner has meanwhile appealed to Prof. Luo to equip the department of livestock with necessary equipment and vehicles to enable officer conduct monitoring of various programmes that government is implementing in Mushindamo district.
“Honourable minister, as you may be aware, Mushindamo is a new district which needs a lot of infrastructural development. In view of this, we appeal to you to empower the officers with vehicles to facilitate movement of officers so that they can conduct their work effectively,” Ms. Kalamba said.
She has since urged the beneficiaries of the livestock to adhere to the terms and conditions of the empowerment programme so as to develop the livestock sector in the district.