The Agricultural Marketing Authority together with other development partners is leading the rehabilitation of cattle holding pens across the country in a bid to revive public livestock auction sales. Cattle auction sales have already begun and the first was held at Mpalawani in Insiza, Matabeleland South province last year
WORD FROM THE MARKET
By Peter Mudzimiri
The last quarter of 2022 witnessed the outbreak of the foot and mouth disease in some parts of the country particularly in Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and parts of Manicaland provinces.
The government has upped efforts to contain the disease through the necessary treatment and vaccinations. Concerted effort is therefore needed in the greater livestock sector to sustain the growth trajectory. Contributions to the Livestock Development Levy becomes crucial in order to maintain good animal husbandry practices.
Section 31 of the Agricultural Marketing Authority Act (Chapter 18:24) establishes the Agricultural Marketing Fund (AMF) which is administered by Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) on behalf and in accordance with the instructions from the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development. The purpose of the fund among other uses include: promoting the marketing and, as may be necessary, the production of agricultural products; the training of persons to be skilled, competent and efficient in the marketing of any agricultural products; the production and processing standards of any such products for particular markets and the training of persons in any field-related to the agricultural industry as may be considered essential and the provision of technical, consultancy and advisory services to persons engaged in the marketing of agricultural products or in the agricultural industry generally or any section of the industry as well as fostering the demand for agricultural products.
The fund is composed of monies that may be allocated by Treasury in the national budget as well as levies that are charged in terms of the Act. AMA is charged with the responsibility to ensure proper accounting of the fund monies including external audits and reports on behalf of the responsible minister. AMA further administers several regulations for the agricultural sub-sectors such as livestock, seed cotton and macadamia. Levies are appropriated from these sectors into the AMF for the designated purposes in terms of the Act.
In 2017, the minister promulgated the Agricultural Marketing Authority (Livestock Development Levy) Regulations, 2017 under Statutory Instrument 129 of 2017. The purpose of these regulations is to establish a livestock development levy, provide for its uses and the disbursement thereof. The livestock development levy forms part of the AMF as stated above.
It is regrettable that there has been some misconception regarding this levy which however serves as an important enabler in the livestock sector. As such there has been reluctancy by stakeholders to contribute to this levy hence AMA’s heed is for all stakeholders to abide and contribute to the development of the sector through this levy. The advantages of doing so, as shall be explained below, are many.
The levy is payable by those in the business of production of chicks, buying of raw milk and slaughtering of beef cattle. The purpose of the levy is to promote; surveillance prevention and control of animal disease in accordance with the Animal Health Act (Chapter 9:0l), research on appropriate technologies in livestock production and animal health, transparent grading and classification of livestock and livestock products, orderly marketing of livestock, investment in veterinary infrastructure and sustainable animal husbandry practices.
The rates payable by producers of day-old chicks is US$0,01 per day old chick. Buyers of raw milk pay US$0,01 per litre and abattoirs pay US$10.00 of the value of a fifth quarter per animal slaughtered. Stakeholders are required to submit monthly returns together with contributions to the levy. The disbursement of the levy is very transparent. Disbursement is done only for the stipulated purposes above. The minister appoints a disbursement committee comprising of an official from AMA, a member from the Department of Veterinary Services, a member from producers’ association to represent farmers and a member from the association of processors. The committee is charged with the responsibility of coming up with recommendations to the minister on how the funds can be utilised subject to objects as stated in the regulations.
The Agricultural Marketing Authority together with other development partners is leading the rehabilitation of cattle holding pens across the country in a bid to revive public livestock auction sales. Cattle auction sales have already begun and the first was held at Mpalawani in Insiza, Matabeleland South province last year. Other auctions were also held in Gomoza, Mutiusinazita and Chirozva (Buhera, Manicaland province) in December. Average prices ranged from US$1,00 to US$1,70 per kg.
AMA, therefore, call upon all stakeholders to come forward with feedback. Livestock remains a vital cog in the quest for agricultural revival hence all hands must be on the deck.
Peter Mudzimiri is AMA Head of Compliance
Word from the market is a column produced by the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) to promote market-driven production. Feedback email@example.com or WhatsApp/Call +263781706212.