Richard Saunders attended the Zambia Agri-Tech Expo 27-29 April 2017 on behalf of the British Livestock Genetics Consortium (BLG) & AHDB (Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board).
Held in Chisamba, 80km north of the capital Lusaka, the event for the first time hosted a UK Pavilion arranged by the UK Department of International Trade (DIT) in line with its focus on Southern Africa as a Priority One Market.
It welcomed other British companies such as Perry of Oakley Ltd, Chase Organics Ltd, Precision Decision Ltd, Lina Agro Consult Ltd/Haygrove & Agroponic Ltd. There was also a co-ordinated international presence from Germany, France, Holland & Czech Republic with the well-resourced and professionally run three-day show attended by a wide range of farmers and influencers from Zambia as well as others from countries including South Africa, China, USA, Tanzania & Namibia.
Zambia itself is a fertile country well suited to increasing its agricultural production. It is blessed with favourable growing conditions encompassing a warm climate, plentiful rain and good soil ideal for both cropping (maize and soya predominantly) as well as livestock production.
The dairy sector is small in size (15-20,000 head estimated) relying heavily on imports; beef cattle, though amounting to around 2-3 million head, are largely not run as commercial units and are based heavily on native cattle (bos indicus-types like Boran, Nguni, Ankole & Brahman). There is a smaller influence of 'beefier' genetics from the South African Bonsmara, the composite Beefmaster (incorporating Simmental, Hereford & Shorthorn bloodlines into local breeds) as well as Simmental & Hereford whose role is as a dual-purpose - terminal & maternal - sire.
Although traditionally all-year-round calving, commercial units are moving towards putting bulls in from December with the aim of getting calves on the ground October-November just before the rainy season which runs from November to mid-April.
Post-event, a visit was made to Kafue Fisheries, a 2,000ha farm comprising 600 breeding cattle plus game with a production of 1,500t of bream and 20,000 pigs annually. The Zambian pig industry is quite well developed; goats (predominantly for meat rather than milk) are increasing in number with a focus on increasing carcase size with sheep also undergoing development.
Further meetings were held with local suppliers to explore opportunities for the export of UK genetics and meat to Zambia.
For further information, please contact Richard Saunders T: 07901-768904.