Government is to step up efforts – including enhanced branding and surveillance – to wipe out prevalent stock theft, says Livestock and Fisheries Minister Michael Katambo.
Livestock specialists predict a robust growth of the sector as domestic and export markets grow.
“Rampant stock theft poses a significant threat to the growth of the livestock sector that makes up 42% of agriculture’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product,” Katambo said when he officiated at the 2017 Stanbic Bank Livestock Auction in Lusaka.
According to police statistics, 1 717 cases of stock theft were reported from January 2016 to June 2016. This is an increase of 12.7% compared to the previous year in the same period. Of the reported cases, more than 700 arrests were made, an increase of 27.5% from the previous year.
Stock theft leads to slaughter of animals with potentially high genetic value, constrains expansion of livestock farming and has a negative ripple effect on the economy.
“The proliferation of such cases is a huge setback, especially because it is a major source of livelihood for small-scale farmers. As such, we will intensify branding, surveillance and thorough scrutiny at checkpoints,” Katambo said.