Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Laws to guide livestock industry underway

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Chief Livestock Research Officer (CLRO), Young Vibetti, has disclosed that the livestock industry and general animal production is not guided by any law in the country.

Mr Vibetti said this scenario has paved the way for a lot of abuse, particularly when it comes to the use of genetic materials.

He was speaking in an interview in Kabwe during the stakeholders’ consultative meeting on the formulation of the livestock Act.

He said there have been some instances where livestock are directly imported into the country and are given to the farmers without any restrictions because there is no law to guide such decisions.

“The idea behind the Act being promulgated is that the livestock industry and general animal production is not guided by any law particularly when it comes to the use of genetic material there is a lot of abuse,” Mr Vibetti said.

Mr Vibetti observed that when animals are being transported from one environment to another, there is need to be careful to ensure the environment they are going to is  suitable for them.

He has disclosed that some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have been distributing inappropriate genetic materials to the farmers to an extent that when the farmer receives the animals, they are not able to handle them.

“Some animals from abroad can grow up to 1,000 kilograms for males and 500 kilograms for females. So, the environment to which you take the animals doesn’t have sufficient materials to make them grow,” he added.

He states that the Livestock Research institution would want to regulate some of the things so that everybody in the livestock value chain is registered.

He underscored that the veterinary services should know whether it is an NGO that is distributing livestock or if there is any genetic materials like semen, embryos including whole animals.

“We are not trying to punish people. We want to do things in the correct way. Generally, that is the rationale behind this stakeholder consultative meeting. All the actors in the value chain must be accounted for so that the industry moves forward,” he underscored.

And Acting Director for Veterinary Services, Geoffrey Muuka, said the government is in the process of repealing the Animal Identification Act of 2010.

Dr. Muuka said this is because the piece of the legislation did not provide for certain functionalities in the law enforcement.

“Therefore, we found that the implementation of the Act was very difficult both for the farmer, the competent authorities and other stakeholders,” Dr. Muuka said.

He explained that the new law encompasses a number of new matters that are progressive and will promote the export of animals and animal products from Zambia.

He further observed that the new Act will also enhance security for the animals, compel those that are marketing animals and animal products to have the certificate of origin of the products they are selling.

Dr. Muuka said the Act will also assist Zambia to access high grade markets for meat and meat products because of the traceability of the products.

He stated that as such, these products will compete favourably with other products that are exported by other countries globally.

“As you know, President Hakainde Hichilema has encouraged the export of animals and animal products from this country. Therefore, with this law, it will now enhance this trade and we should be able to trade on any market as long as we control animal diseases that have been rampant in the country,” he stated.

Dr. Muuka also said when in force, the Act will be very cardinal in disease control because it will be easy to trace where the animals that are causing the disease have moved from.

He added that the repeal of the Veterinary and Para Professionals Act has come about because of co-mingling of the functions of the Veterinary Association of Zambia (VAZ) and Veterinary Council of Zambia (VCZ).

Dr. Muuka said it was important that the two are detached and their functions are very well separated in the law.

“We hope by facilitating this measure, the Veterinary and Veterinary Paraprofessionals Act will be all encompassing and will facilitate the growth of the veterinary profession in the country,” he said.

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