LVSCC set to improve the health and productivity of smallholder herds



By Pamela Hamasaka, Corporate Affairs Manager

Over 1,000 farmers in Kabwe, Kapiri Mposhi, Chibombo and Chisamba Districts have benefitted from the Livestock and Veterinary Services Consult Centre (LVSCC)’s outreach programme through the establishment of five livestock service centres supported by Musika.

Mafita area, located approximately 55 kilometres from Kapiri Mposhi town, is home to Mafita Farmers Group comprising 40 members where LVSCC has installed a spray race to service about 300 herds of cattle at a fee.

Secretary of the Mafita Farmers Group, Michelo Hanyabo, 63, explained that the adoption of the herd health plan promoted by LVSCC including dipping, vaccinations, deworming and supplementation has eradicated the outbreak of diseases and has encouraged farmers to understand the importance of investing in preventative health care.

“Farmers here know the importance of paying for the services offered at the centre. For spraying they pay a minimum fee of K2 per animal and so farmers have learnt to even sell one goat to raise money to pay for the services,” he said.

Hanyabo observed that the services provided by LVSCC have helped change the mindset of members of the community who no longer randomly administer drugs to their animals without first consulting LVSCC for a diagnosis. He explained that other communities without access to a livestock service centres were still grappling with the problem of frequent disease outbreaks.

“Previously we used to buy livestock drugs without even knowing the disease that we wanted to treat whenever an animal fell sick or how to properly administer it. But now we get on the spot advise and service from LVSCC as soon as we detect a problem among our animals,” he explained.

Elijah Malambo, 34, who owns six animals, observed that since LVSCC established the livestock service centre in 2014, there has never been an outbreak of disease.

“Previously we used to spray our animals using a knap sack sprayer which did nothing to eradicate the ticks. Our animals continued to die in large numbers due to corridor disease. But since LVSCC introduced the spray race and trained us on the importance of following a herd health plan, we have never recorded any losses,” he noted.

Malambo explained that in 2016 alone, a total of 100 calves were born from the animals owned by members of the Mafita Farmers Group due to the good health of the animals.

According to LVSCC’s Dr Faith Mwape, the Musika supported assets including, livestock handling equipment, motor vehicle and motor bikes have assisted the company to reach out to farmers living in remote areas like Mafita. She explained that the company’s main focus was on training farmers on preventative health care.

“Our emphasis is on training the smallholder farmer on the benefits of implementing the herd health programme and make them aware of the potential economic loss in case of a disease outbreak, and this moves them to take action,” she pointed out.

By December 2016, over 78,900 smallholder farmers purchased agricultural services as a result of Musika’s interventions through its private sector partners across the country. During the same period, Musika was working with 12 firms in the veterinary sector that provided for 340 additional points of access to key livestock services for livestock farmers.

The efforts of the private sector to engage the smallholder livestock market, largely triggered by Musika, has led to the ‘crowding in’ of other supporting actors such as Government and various NGOs establishing 15 new livestock service centres, all being managed in some way by private business. A total of 1,000 artificial inseminations (AIs) were also supported by NGOs during 2016, riding on the private business network.