By Natasha M’hango -
Strengthening market linkages to enhance small livestock trading is an integral part of improving agricultural marketing.
The Smallholder Agribusiness Promotion Project (SAPP), which is a project under the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), is a programme that is, among other things, aimed at helping small-holder farmers who are organised in groups to be better linked to potential markets and to enhance market-oriented production.
Currently, the most popular marketing centres for small livestock are located at Chibolya market in Lusaka and at Kasumbalesa town in Chililabombwe district of the Copperbelt Province. These two centres have caught the attention of SAPP.
Kasumbalesa town borders Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is there where trading in small livestock can be seen to be a 24-hour activity as buyers from even the DRC come to purchase small livestock.
Goats are the most preferred of all the small livestock. Most of them are bought from Southern, North-Western and Lusaka provinces and resold at Kasumbalesa with at a mark up price.
They are bought for between K70 – K100 and are resold for K350 – K450, while others are brought by goat farmers themselves.
About 250 – 350 goats are traded per day at Kasumbalesa, which translates into about 1,000 goats being traded per month.
This high number implies that there is indeed a high demand for goats.
Peter Chisekesi, a small livestock farmer from Kabwe, is among many other small livestock farmers who brings pigs for sale at Kasumbalesa. He boasts that within two and three hours, all his pigs and goats are bought; and he can travel back to Kabwe in the shortest possible time, which saves him from any additional costs such as accommodation.
Most small livestock farmers such as Mr Chisekesi, prefer to engage the Small Livestock Association of Zambia (SLAZ) to facilitate the sale of the livestock.
SLAZ was established in the early 1990s to assist farmers in the sale of their small livestock and to ensure that they get value for their money in terms of the investments they have made in rearing their animals.
The headquarters for SLAZ are based in Lusaka, while branches exist in selected parts of the country, including Kasumbalesa.
At Kasumbalesa, farmers bring their livestock to Kasumbalesa SLAZ who have constructed a small temporary shelter at the border.
At An affordable charge of K5 per animal, farmers are able to accommodate their livestock in the SLAZ shelter for as long as it will take to sell them off; which in most cases is not long.
Though significant profits are being realised through the trade of livestock, the full benefits are not yet being reaped.
This is because, to begin with, the shelter that Kasumbalesa SLAZ has built is a temporary structure which lacks any form of decent sanitary services and running water.
Furthermore, the structure lacks security facilities. This is a crucial challenge considering the fact that trading at Kasumbalesa is a 24-hour activity. This entails that out-of-town farmers need to spend their nights at the shelter in order to safe guard their livestock as security is not guaranteed.
In a bid to relieve organisations such as SLAZ of their challenges, SAPP offers a matching grant facility in which they assist farmer groups and self-help groups; and associations to achieve some of their objectives.
At Chibolya market where the headquarters of SLAZ is located, SAPP has facilitated the construction of an abattoir and a shelter for small livestock, through its matching grant facilities.
Lusaka SLAZ put forward the funds that they had raised to construct the abattoir while SAPP provided the short-fall.
Prior to this, with the help of one of its stakeholder MUSIKA, a shelter has been constructed at Chibolya market where more livestock can be kept at a time.
The matching grant facility has motivated SLAZ Kasumbalesa branch to work towards enhancing its services to small livestock farmers. It is hoped that, through the matching grant, Kasumbalesa-SLAZ can acquire its own land and construct a bigger and more permanent shelter for farmers’ to temporarily house their livestock. – NAIS.