LIVESTOCK and Fisheries Minister Professor Nkandu Luo says foreigners are illegally transporting animals in defiance of the ban.
Prof Luo was responding to a question from Lufubu PF member of parliament Gift Chiyalika, Thursday, who wanted to find out whether government was aware that some foreigners were illegally transporting livestock from Mumbwa and Itezhi tezhi districts via Ngabwe District to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), thereby, spreading livestock diseases in Ngabwe.
“My Ministry is aware that some foreigners, especially from DRC in collaboration with some Zambians have been linked to the illegal livestock movements from Mumbwa, Itezhi tezhi, Namwala and Chibombo. These illegal livestock movements have contributed to the spread of animal diseases, such as the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). To stop the illegal movements and contain the diseases, my Ministry has put in place the following measures: Identify and map the illegal routes in affected districts, this has been done in order to guide officers doing the patrols,” Prof Luo said.
“We have formed district village task forces and neighbourhood groups. We have continued sensitizing farmers and stakeholders on how animal diseases are spread and the implications of illegal livestock movement as stipulated on Animal Health Act Number 27 of 2010. We have assigned transport to Ngabwe to help field officers to help patrols and help carry out disease control measures. As a result of the measures that we have put in place, two incidences of illegal livestock movements have been recorded. In Chibombo, two foreign nationals have been prosecuted and deported.”
Prof Luo said the FMD disease would soon be contained and that the country would start exporting livestock.
“The reason we are restricting movement as at now is because of the disease (in) our livestock industry. Once the disease is contained, I am pleased to inform, Mr Speaker, that the vaccination is going on very well and I am positive that sooner than later, we will be able to contain the FMD disease. Once that is done, Zambia is poised to start exporting our animals, not only to the DRC, but to all the countries that have been in touch with us as a country, Saudi Arabia included. Even Zambians will start appreciating that Livestock and Fisheries is a very important sector in the economic activities of this country. In the past, livestock and fisheries have been seen as a sector for the tired and retired, and many people have thought it is a by the way. But it is actually an important sector that every Zambian must aspire to venture into livestock and this will be very exciting when the first exports of this country will bring in the resources that the Ministry of Finance so much desires,” Prof Luo said.
And when asked by Moomba UPND member of parliament Fred Chaatila if it was true that some of the Ministry of Livestock officials were facilitating the movement of the animals from Zambia to DRC in exchange for cash, Prof Luo warned Ministry officials to desist from doing this if it was true.
“Mr Speaker, I don’t take action on gossip and I would like to ask the MP if he has the evidence of any of my staff that are facilitating these movements. I can tell you that through this August House, I am warning any staff from the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock who is aiding this, we will take stern action. And I invite anybody who has evidence. As a scientist, I believe in evidence,” replied Prof Luo.