Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR)-based agricultural expert and programmes coordinator, Dr. Liveness Banda, has called for an expedited review of the livestock policy, stressing that the existing one is exposing animal farmers farmers to exploitation by intermediaries and meat retailers.
The livestock sector is driven by the Livestock Policy, which spells out the aspirations of the government, and the direction in which the sector is desired to move. The policy is under the stewardship of the Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development, but its formulation involves all the stakeholders in the industry.
But speaking on Friday on the sidelines of a meeting LUANAR organized under its Community-Based Goat Breeding Programme (CBGBP), Banda observed that animal farmers do not benefitting enough from the sector as the policy puts them at the mercy of the middlemen and owners of the butchery stores.
“We need a policy that will support the entire value chain of the animals, right from production, where the farmers can get the inputs, and in marketing, we need a policy that will provide conducive environment so that the smallholder farmers is also able to make a profit from the sector rather than having a middleman or a retailer benefitting more than the farmer,” she said.
With support from the Norwegian Government and USAID through TRANSFORM Project, LUANAR in partnership with Trustees for Agricultural Promotion Programme (TAPP) are implementing CBGBP to improve production and productivity of indigenous livestock through genetic improvement along with improved husbandry practices.
CBBP is said to have recently emerged as a viable option to implement sustainable breeding programmes for indigenous small ruminants in low input smallholder production systems.
CBBP combines genetic improvement and husbandry practices and have the potential to increase genetic gains that improve production and productivity of small ruminants and ultimately enhance smallholders’ livelihoods and food security.
The livestock industry in Malawi contributes about 8 percent of total gross domestic production (GDP) and about 36 percent the value of total agricultural products.
Banda said since tine inception of CBBP around 2015, LUANAR and its local partner have managed to reach out to animal farmers in Nsanje, Mzimba, Salima, Neno and Dowa.
She said the impact on the beneficiary farmers has been huge as others have formed cooperatives to enable them bargain for better prices for their goats at the market.
“For instance, farmers in Mzimba graduated into a cooperative and are now able to sell their goats as seed to other farmers. We also have farmers that are breeding stock for seed just as we have crop seeds,” she said.
One of the goat farmers, Liphias Chalunda, said the project has helped him quadruple the benefits from his goat farming.
Chalunda said after selecting the right breeding bucks, his female goats have been giving birth to twins only.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :