President Edgar Lungu has given the livestock ministry a six month ultimatum to turn around Luapula province’s Chishinga ranch. The ranch, one of nine state-owned ranches, is in a deplorable state with only 80 goats and 175 heads of cattle.
“Saudi Arabia wants a millions goats but you are running down this facility. I want to see a change within six months in the way this ranch is run,” Lungu said during a tour of the ranch in Pambashe, some two hours away from the provincial capital Mansa.
He was accompanied by Ronald Chitotela, the area member of parliament and minister of housing and infrastructure, as well as provincial minister Nickson Chilangwa. Alluding to the potential for livestock to contribute to Zambia’s diversified growth, Lungu says Luapula – being disease-free – should take the lead in up scaling the population of goat and cattle.
The Zambian government is in talks with Saudi Arabia to supply the latter with goat and sheep. An agreement will culminate in the export of one million goats per month to Saudi Arabia. Officials from the ministry of livestock, who spoke to africanfarming.com on condition of anonymity, say the regrettable state of Chishinga ranch highlighted the hurdles that need to be overcome before Zambia could capture the potential of livestock farming.
The officials say the ranch was run down mainly because of poor coordination between provincial authorities and central government.