The Zambian government has announced a ZMW50 million (US$5 million) nationwide census of livestock, early in 2017.
The announcement for the first census to be conducted after more than 40 years comes barely a week after government held a joint consultative meeting to explore the nation’s potential to meet the demand for 12 million goats and sheep per year by Saudi Arabia.
In an interview, the Permanent Secretary of Fisheries and Livestock – Dr David Shamulenge – stressed that the census would be pivotal to government’s diversified growth vision through agriculture.
“The census is part of government’s drive in diversifying the economy to agriculture,” he said. “It is noteworthy that Zambia has had no livestock census in the last 40 years, and this will enable us to deepen our understanding of the huge economic potential of the livestock sector,” he added.
Last week government held a national consultative forum with small-scale producers and other stakeholders to explore the enticing Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf region market. The consultative meeting identified the lack of commercial production as a major hurdle to overcome before venturing into the enticing Saudi Arabia and Gulf region market.
It is estimated that the goat population was about 4.3 million. Lack of data, traceability and limited export infrastructure coupled by long-term competition from established exporters such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Australia where the other hurdles identified by the stakeholders’ meeting.