Government must urgently lift the ban on livestock movement to safeguard farmers’ incomes and address the shortage of beef in some areas of the country, says UPND chairperson of agriculture Levy Ngoma.

In a statement issued, Wednesday, Ngoma appealed to government to lift the ban on livestock movement as a means of safeguarding farmers’ incomes, which he said had been affected by the decision to restrict livestock movement from some areas of the country to other places.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock has maintained a ban on the movement of livestock to curb the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) from Chisamba District to other areas.

“We are appealing to government to provide adequate funding and expedite the process of lifting the ban on livestock movement. It is for this reason why we, as UPND, call on government to immediately allocate funds to contain the disease as a way of expediting the ban on livestock movement. We also implore government to take up measures to control the FMD without taking away the income farmers earn from livestock. The ban on livestock movement has contributed to a short supply of beef, thereby, increasing the price of beef on the market,” Ngoma stated.

He also urged government to increase funding to the sub-sector.

“We commend government for the intervention of K27m funding to the Livestock Department as reported in the Times of Zambia of 4th June. However, we feel that this funding is far below the expected demand to combat this scourge given the spread of the disease, which is now spreading to other parts of the country. As long as government continues neglecting the livestock and adequate funds are not provided, illegal movement of livestock will continue and this will increase the spread as Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the country,” he noted.

“UPND policy on agriculture provides for the construction of Disease Control Centres and improved extension services to subsistence farmers in order to prevent and control animal disease. The centres shall also be responsible of distributing subsidized livestock Vaccines to identified vulnerable farmers.”

And Ngoma explained that a UPND government would revive the National Agriculture Information Services (NAIS) to disseminate information on management of livestock around the country.

“Furthermore, UPND will revive National Agriculture Information Services to disseminate information on management of livestock inorder to instill community action to detect combat and prevent animal disease outbreaks. Information acquired will also provide a safety net for farmers to deal with unpredictable events, such as the Foot and Mouth Disease the country is facing today,” stated Ngoma.