By Lawrence Kabutu
Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock has scaled up the distribution of pasture seed to livestock farmers in a bid to be improve and increase livestock feed in the country.
Chief Animal Production Officer Vincent Simoongwe said the move has been made following Climate Change Variability mostly in the Southern Province causing natural grasses to wither consequently not enough for livestock.
Mr. Simoongwe was speaking when he addressed headmen and farmers during a livestock stakeholders engagement meeting held in Namwala.
He said the natural grasses in the Kafue plains of Namwala are mostly grasses which are not very nutritious for cattle.
Mr. Simoongwe told headmen and farmers that government has therefore commenced distribution of nutritious pastures that will speed up growth of cattle.
He urged farmers not to worry as the pastures distributed by government through his ministry have been studied and will not destroy or subdue natural grasses but contribute to nutrition of cattle.
Mr. Simoongwe noted that government is proud of the livestock farmers in Namwala as they have many cattle contributing positively to the livestock sector.
He told farmers that the improved pasture that include grasses and legumes are being distributed to farmers free without paying anything.
Mr. Simoongwe named the area that has received pasture for their livestock as Kaumba in Monze district.
He noted that traditional leaders are consulted before farmers are engaged in pasture growing as farmers need to keep away their cattle for a season from the newly planted pasture lands to allow growth.
“Our animals should grow fast for the market, if the growth rate is slow or stunted it means you are going to make a lose because all this time you are dipping, deworming, and carrying out other management activities using your financial resources,” he explained.
Mr. Simoongwe clarified that livestock rearing is the way to go as the rainfall pattern is unpredictable due to climate change.
And Namwala Member of Parliament Moono Lubezyi thanked government for engaging livestock farmers in pasture production.
Ms. Lubezyi said farmers in the area who are mostly pastoral farmers will be registered on individual basis to access and plant pastures on their farmers for their cattle.
She was however quick to note that for the communal grazing areas in the plains the permission of traditional leaders that include Senior Chief Mungaila, Chiefs Mukobela, Muchila and Nalubamba will need be granted by the traditional rulers.
Ms. Lubezyi called on the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock to start planting fish in natural water ponds.
” Days are gone when the people in Namwala used to laugh at fish mongers that they smell fish. Now Smallholder farmers are willing to diversify into various commodities in view of climate change,” said Ms. Lubezyi.
Ms. Lubezyi said her constituency is endowed with natural water ponds that can be utilized as fish ponds by most Smallholder farmers