Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary Reverend Howard Sikwela says local communities countrywide should venture into game ranching to stimulate economic growth through tourism.

In a statement availed by Tourism Ministry Public Relations Officer Sakabilo Kalembwe, Rev Sikwela advised communities and chiefdoms to reduce on supplying animals to the government during traditional ceremonies.

He instead urged local communities to venture into game ranching as a means of growing the tourism sector.

“Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary Rev. Howard Sikwela has encouraged local communities countrywide to consider setting up game ranches in order to enhance economic growth. Speaking during his recent visit to Chief Mumena’s area in Kalumbila District, the PS said game ranches have the potential to increase tourist visits around the country and improve community incomes and livelihoods,” the statement issued, Wednesday, read.

He said income generated from game ranching could be invested in various community projects beneficial to community residents.

“Reverend Sikwela said the incomes could be used for various community developments that the communities deem fit. And Chief Mumena said the royal establishment had delineated the Lukendo Area of the chiefdom over last 10 years for a community ranch,” Kalembwe stated.

“The chief said, however, there was a challenge of technical know-how until some partners from the private sector came up with a corporate social responsibility to survey land’s suitability for such a project. He said his people are serious and want the initiative to take off.”

According to Kalembwe, the Ministry is encouraging rural communities to get engaged in ranching as businesses.

“Legislative changes during recent decades resulted in a massive shift away from livestock towards game ranching in southern Africa, resulting in significant increases in the abundance and distribution of many wildlife species. Freedom of movement for wildlife populations increases resilience to environmental shocks. Zambia’s Ministry of Tourism and Arts is encouraging communities, including chiefdoms, to get engaged in ranching as businesses, but also reduce on the demand for animals from government during traditional ceremonies,” read the statement.