Government says there is need to transform the livestock sector so that it becomes a key sector in the country’s economic diversification agenda.
Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock Permanent Secretary, Anna Songolo said the livestock sector has the potential to contribute immensely to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Dr Songolo said the sector impacts 60 per cent of the country’s population yet it only contributes three per cent of the GDP.
She said effective utilization of the sector can greatly improve the livelihoods and welfare of Zambians across the country.
“As you are aware, the sector covers a large spectrum of our society. Therefore its effectiveness will greatly improve the livelihoods of most of our people,” said Dr Songolo.
The Permanent Secretary said government is keen to see increased private sector participation in the livestock industry as they are a key driver for growth and expansion.
Dr Songolo said this when she officiated at the swearing in of 26 veterinary students from the University of Zambia’s School of Veterinary Medicine in Lusaka.
Retired Veterinarian, Dr Peter Mangani administered the Veterinary Oath to the 26 graduating students.
Dr Songolo challenged the graduates to take advantage of the opportunities that the new dawn government has created for private sector participation in economic activities.
The Permanent Secretary said graduates should not depend on government for jobs but take advantage of the increased Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to form businesses in the livestock sector and serve communities.
“One such opportunity is the CDF which intends to empower young people such as our graduates to form businesses and serve the community in the livestock sector,” said Dr Songolo.
And Japanese Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, Ominato Satoshi said Japan will continue to support the School of veterinary medicine at the University of Zambia (UNZA) as it plays a cardinal role in the country’s livestock sector.
Mr Satoshi said the UNZA School of Veterinary medicine is a flagship of the strong relations between Japan and Zambia that date back to over thirty years when the school was constructed with a US$40 million Japanese grant.
He said Japan will continue supporting Zambia’s education sector through enhanced technical and financial support as demonstrated by the assistance being rendered to the UNZA School of Veterinary Medicine.
Mr Satoshi called for enhancing strong academic relations between Zambia and Japan modelled on the continued partnership between Hokkaido University and UNZA School of Veterinary Medicine.
The Japanese envoy stated that the cooperation will be extended to other academic disciplines that will see among others inter-disciplinary and student exchanges between the two countries and universities.
“Just as we have intensively cultivated the relationship between Hokkaido University and the School of Veterinary Medicine of UNZA thus far, I expect to see the deepening of cooperation even further. However our endeavor should not stop there, rather this cooperation should expand towards wider academic exchanges between Japan and Zambia at large,” said Mr Satoshi.
He said the school of Veterinary has been enhancing academic relations between Zambia and Japan through its continued partnership with Hokkaido University.
Speaking at the same function UNZA acting Vice Chancellor, Tamara Kambikambi urged the graduating students to raise above challenges and use their skills and knowledge to contribute to national development.
Dr Kambikambi thanked the Japanese government for its continued support to the School of medicine in running the programme which has enabled the university to contribute to the country’s Covid 19 national response through its laboratories that are being used for detecting coronavirus, among other laboratory services being provided.
Female graduate, Noanga Mebelo made a clean sweep of awards as she bagged six of the eight academic awards at the 31st swearing in and graduation ceremony.
And giving a vote of thanks, Gubula Simweene said the graduates are ready to work with government and offer their services to help address the rampant outbreak of livestock diseases in the country.