The World Bank has launched a 64.7 million U.S dollars livestock development project in Zambia that will benefit over 390, 000 farming households, the Zambia Daily Mail reported on Thursday.
The Livestock Development and Animal Health project will benefit smallholder farmers in six of the country's 10 provinces.
Agriculture and Livestock Deputy Minister Luxon Kazabu said during the launch of the project in eastern Zambia's Chipata district that the government expects the project to increase rural incomes, reduce poverty and improve the livelihood of the rural communities.
"The project, therefore, will target selected species, such as cattle, small ruminants (sheep and goats), pigs and poultry and a deliberate effort must be made to give special attention to female members while other direct benefits will include training for 560 staff members in the Ministry of Agriculture," he was quoted as saying by the paper.
While acknowledging the potential the livestock sector has, the Zambian minister said the industry still faces various challenges mainly caused by extension services, poor breeds, poor quality feed, high disease incidences and low value addition.
About 1.1 million farmers who keep livestock will benefit indirectly from the project through improved control of animal diseases while value-chain stakeholders will profit from increased animal supply numbers, he added.
The Ministry of Agriculture will implement the six-year project whose main objective, among others, is to improve the productivity of key livestock production systems.
World Bank senior agriculture specialist Alex Mwanakasale said the project has entered the implementation phase after months of teething problems, adding that the launch of the project will also see fewer disease outbreaks, reduced calf mortality while increasing calving percentage and milk yield.
The livestock sector accounts for 35 percent of Zambia's total agricultural production, with about 50 percent of rural households earning their income from livestock. Endi