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Agritech Expo Zambia 2019: AgriTEACH livestock workshop interview

Read an exclusive interview with David Elias Daka, Animal Production Consultant at Livestock Services Cooperative Society in Zambia, a returning silver sponsor at Agritech Expo Zambia. During the AgriTEACH workshop sessions at the event, David will present a talk on “Vital nutritional information for quality livestock production”.

“Nutrition and feeding account for a major cost of production and farmers will learn how this cost can be reduced.”

Welcome back to Agritech Expo – you have been part of the event for years. How important is this event on the agricultural calendar in Zambia?
It is extremely important in the agricultural calendar of Zambia with high expectations from people, especially farmers. The Agritech Expo brings together farmers (small-scale, emerging and large-scale), extension agents, researchers, policy makers, non–governmental organisations and other service providers such as banks for the purpose of sharing ideas and solutions to agricultural and livestock production challenges. It is a forum which inspires many farmers to realise their vision and dream, whereas manufacturers and suppliers use this forum to shows case advances in agricultural and livestock technologies. It is also a marketing tool and serves as linkage mechanism for all stakeholders in the agricultural and livestock value chains. Agritech Expo can be used effectively by policy makers and extension agents to reorient their policies for increased productivity and meet farmers expectations.

Please give us some of the highlights for Livestock Services in Zambia in the region during 2018.
Livestock Services provided technical support services to farmers, as follows:
– Conducted advisory services /consultations to farmers on animal nutrition, animal health, animal breeding/AI, irrigation, fish farming fencing and agro-chemicals/pest control
– Conducted farmers’ training in beef production, fish farming, village chicken, sheep and goat, pig production, egg production, broiler production, vegetable production, quail production, feed mixing, meat processing, etc.
– Provided laboratory and post mortem services to farmers.
– Disseminated technical information through Radio programs, face book, newsletters, fact sheets, brochures, seminars and work workshops.

What are some of the exciting plans and projects in the offing for this year?
In Zambia and world over, the environment is becoming increasingly competitive in terms of business while farmers are pursuing quality technical agricultural and livestock information and technologies in order to increase productivity. In view of this, Livestock Services and Cooperative Society has and still putting in place measures and strategies to enhance its competitiveness in the most challenging environment, as follows:
– Assemble competent technical and administrative teams, including effective and workforce teams, which are incentivised and equipped to manage and deliver services in a more effective and efficient manner.
– To minimise losses in the operations of livestock Services Cooperative Society.
– Develop e-commerce in order to expand its catchment area and reduce the cost of doing business.
– Develop a “one stop shop” business model whereby farmers will find their needs under one roof. The products are of high quality and are sourced directly from manufactures/suppliers, thus eliminating third party, consequently the prices for inputs obtained from Livestock Cooperative Society are competitive.

What in your view are the main challenges in the agricultural sector in Zambia currently?
– Inadequate extension delivery system in terms quality and number of extension agents reaching out to farmers.
– Inadequate crop and livestock research.
– Cost of inputs.
– Inadequate market access (information, price for inputs, roads).
– Poor agricultural and livestock production practices.
– Livestock diseases (CBPP, FMD, ticks and tick-borne diseases).
– Inadequate capital to start and expand agricultural and livestock production.
– Inadequate credit facilities i.e. high collateral and interest rates.
– Crop diseases and pests.
– Droughts and floods.
– Inadequate value addition and entrepreneurship.
– Competition from cheap imported agricultural products.

How important is cooperation between the agricultural sector and government?
Government attaches great importance to agriculture and is committed to ensure farmers increase agricultural production. To demonstrate this commitment, the government developed Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) for the purpose of distribution of subsidised inputs (seeds and fertiliser) and Food Reserve Agency (FRA) for the purpose of buying produce from farmers for strategic reserves.

The governments also welcomes initiative and, innovations from stakeholders (private sector, cooperating partners and NGOs) in the agricultural value chain to come on board to support government programmes, to create synergies in order to improve and enhance agricultural production and productivity for, poverty alleviation, income generation, job creation opportunities, food security increased contribution to GDP.

What would you want prospective investors to know about Zambia? What is it like to do business in this country?
Business to flourish needs fertile environment and this is found in Zambia in terms of democracy, peace, love regardless of race and religious affiliation; abundance of natural resources (competent workforce, rain, fertile soils). Zambia is a landlocked country, and this has been used positively to link into bordering countries. Therefore, Zambia is a hub of Africa where business can be conducted and effectively ship goods and services to the rest of Africa.

You are a speaker in our interactive training workshops, what will be your message at this year’s Agritech Expo Zambia?
Most farmers, especially small scale, lack information to make informed decisions to improve livestock production. Among the many challenges of the livestock sector in the country, inadequate nutrition in terms of quality and quantity, stands out as a priority constraint to increased productivity. This seminar will unveil the impact of nutrition on production, reproductive efficiency and quality of livestock outputs and this affects revenues. Nutrition and feeding account for a major cost of production and farmers will learn how this cost can be reduced.

How important is continued training in the farming sector?
Information is power and it can be used to improve agricultural and livestock productivity. There are new innovations and technologies emerging from research and this can only be disseminated to farmers more effectively through training, demonstrations and exhibitions such as Agritech Expo. More and more new information is emerging, and farmers need this information to make decisions for production and marketing purposes.

Agritech Expo Zambia returns to Chisamba from 11 to 13 April 2019.

Also read:
Agritech Expo Zambia celebrates 6 years
Latest farming technology from country pavilions at Agritech Expo Zambia

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