BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes
ZAMBEEF Products Plc has bemoaned the influx of smuggled meat which is negatively affecting the country’s food value chains.
Chief executive officer Francis Grogan said Zambia had the potential to feed itself and neighbouring markets but that its capacity was being hampered by smuggling.
Mr Grogan said in a statement Zambia had to position itself to be an agricultural and agro-processing powerhouse in southern Africa but should aggressively tackle illicit trade in agro commodities and produce.
He said efforts by both Government and the private sector to boost and encourage local livestock production in Zambia were being hampered by rising levels of unregulated meat imports, particularly beef.
Mr Grogan said the illicit trade was choking the local market.
“Such activities are not only hurting our hardworking farmers and businesses but also putting consumers at risk,” he said.
Mr Grogan urged shoppers to continue buying local meat products from trusted and regulated sources.
He said while the market for beef held great potential, there had been low growth in beef volumes despite the massive investments that have gone into developing the sector.
Zambeef currently has 12,000 cattle – all bought from local farmers – but is concerned that the economic impact of the investment in the long-term is being hampered by the smuggling.
Mr Grogan said the influx of smuggled meat and meat products was undermining the local beef industry and depriving the country of revenue.