Zambia has launched a four-year comprehensive insurance program to shield the country’s first 30,000 smallholder livestock producers from the effects of illnesses, drought, and other climatic change-related problems that have outpaced the sector’s expansion.

The project for inclusive livestock insurance, which was tested in Choma, Mazabuka, and Kalomo and has been in the feasibility study stage since 2015, is a joint effort between Mayfair Insurance and the Zambian Financial Sector Deepening Limited (FSD Zambia).

It would strive to address the problems encountered by smallholder farmers in the nation, including women, who suffer financial losses due to stock theft, diseases, and unfavourable climatic circumstances.

This will finally unleash the nation’s potential and increase its competitiveness both domestically and abroad after it has been implemented throughout the entire nation.

The project is further expected to enhance and increase access to high value and comprehensive agricultural insurance products for smallholder farmers by strengthening climate resilience and expanding their production, particularly for those growing crops and keeping livestock.

Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, Makozo Chikote in a speech read for him by the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock Director, Mwambilwa Kabemba during the launch in Magoye-in Southern Zambia is happy with the collaboration to moot an insurance cover with the private sector.

The initiative would allow farmers of crops and livestock in the country to retain their wealth while being protected from adverse risks that threaten their livelihood, noting that Zambia has been victim to various animal and crop failures because of various factors.

FSD Zambia Chief Executive Officer Engwase Mwale said the project is envisaged to improve and increase access to high value and comprehensive agriculture insurance products for an initial 30,000 small holder farmers, Those growing crops and rear cattle countrywide would be covered in due course to assist alleviate challenges faced by smallholder farmers.

Traditional leader, Chief Hanjalika  regretted the increased animal thefts and losses incurred in his chiefdom, spurred by rustlers and drought that has affected the region in the last four years.

Chief Hanjalika however, noted the lack of veterinary and other agriculture extension officers in the area which has heightened the plight of the farming community.

He appealed to the Government to redress the shortage of veterinary and extension officers to help mitigate the matter.

The Government, he further appealed, should sink more dip tanks to help reduce foot and mouth diseases in the area while redressing  crop losses following a drought that decimated yields in the just ended season.

But Mazabuka District Commissioner Oliver Mulomba directed all extension and veterinary officers in the area to return to their respective stations and join the farmers in fighting the diseases and other challenges as the country aspires to remain a regional food basket.

Recently, the Government carried out a 100 per cent Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccination in Mazabuka Town , Southern Zambia in collaboration with Solidaridad Southern Africa.

Mazabuka District Commissioner Oliver Mulomba confirms that the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock Staff in the area successfully carried out the FMD vaccination programme in the area including East Coast Fever vaccines against the corridor disease.

Minister  Chikote notes that cattle production remains Zambia’ lifeline especially among rural farmers. Of the 3.5 million herds of cattle in Zambia, 1.2 million are in Southern Province. Solidaridad Southern Africa further assisted in constructing a spray race to fight the disease.