Small Livestock Association of Zambia (SLAZ) wants government to engage stakeholders before formulating policies. The Association says engagement will ensure statutes do not impact negatively the various small livestock players.

Martin Mukuka, SLAZ Chairperson said government should consult key players on various economic issues to avoid negative impact on the economy.

Recently Michael Katambo, Fisheries and Livestock minister, last year signed a statutory instrument (SI) number 105 of 2016 that came into effect on January 1, 2017 to revised upwards the veterinary fees with verbal consultations pegged at K50 while farm visits will cost K125 per hour, a move that irked the Association.

Under the SI meat inspection per animal increased from K10 to K50 with fertility testing per animal pegged at K250 while blood test per sample now cost K150.

The veterinary services scheduled fees for permits, licences and services, animal branding registration will cost K100, slaughter permit per pregnant animal is pegged at K200 with post-mortem per animal costing K250, among other fees.

Mukuka said the increased livestock veterinary service fees will seriously affect productivity, as most farmers face challenges in having their animals vaccinated.

“The Association understands the challenges Government is facing to raise required funds for service provisions, however, the increase has come at a wrong time. Government should have consulted all stakeholders before coming up with this increase.”

He said the hike will affect production, affecting the high demand for beef, pork, village birds and goat meat.

“We are calling upon the minister to engage all stakeholders and come up with affordable service fees that will encourage farmers to seek veterinary services,” Mukuka said.

He said the move is against government’s policy of diversification from the major source of revenue (mining) into other key sectors such as agriculture, tourism, construction, and manufacturing, among other areas.

“To build capacity in terms of high productivity we need favourable and affordable services…We trust our government shall certainly revise the fees,” Mukuka said.