Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chief whip Henry Mussa yesterday told Parliament that government decentralised livestock markets to give responsibility to associations in Agricultural Development Divisions across the country.
During question time yesterday, Nsanje South West MP Joseph Chidanti Malunga (Independent) asked the Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda, who was not present in the House, to consider intervening on the cattle market in the constituency.
“Cattle farmers are suffering when it comes to selling their cattle as there is no organised market. As a result, vendors are ripping farmers off by offering very low prices,” Chidanti-Malunga said.
Mussa, responding on behalf of Chaponda, said government was aware that some livestock markets run by associations had stopped functioning for various reasons.
He said the associations, in collaboration with district markets, were working together to provide information and equipment to cattle farmers.
“The cattle farmers and buyers pay a fee to the association when they transact to be used to maintain markets, but also assist in data collection. The association fixes dates for markets and the district officials provide oversight and supervise the process and inspect the animals to ensure they are not being sold before they are mature,” Mussa said.
However, Chidanti-Malunga disclosed that the question was already tackled during the last Parliament meeting and he received a different response which signified that the ministry was disorganised.
Chidanti Malunga, however, did not indicate the contents of the response given at the time. n