Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made recently announced that producers of day-old chicks, beef abattoirs and processors of raw milk are now required to pay a levy which will create a fund for the prevention and control of animal diseases.
The Minister announced the new development in terms of Section 37 of the Agricultural Marketing Authority Act (Chapter 18:24) in a Government Gazette on Friday 13 October 2017. Producers of day old chicks will pay US1c for every chick and buyers of raw milk will contribute the same amount for every litre of milk purchased.
Part of the Gazette reads: “Every person engaged in the business of producing chicks; or buying raw milk; or slaughtering beef cattle; shall pay a livestock development levy. The rate of the levy to be paid by producers of day old chicks shall be USD 1 cent per day-old chick; buyers of raw milk shall be USD 1 cent per litre for all raw milk purchased USD 10 of the value of a fifth quarter per animal slaughtered.”
The levy shall be payable to the Agricultural Marketing Fund no later than seven days after the month of production or processing. Failure to comply with the new regulations will attract a fine not exceeding level six or imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both.
The new levy comes in response to the recent outbreaks of avian flu and foot and mouth diseases. The government is making efforts to ensure there are financial resources in place to mitigate disease outbreaks in livestock and avert a national disaster.
Reads part of the gazette: “The money will be used to promote research on appropriate technologies in livestock production and animal health, transparent grading and classification of livestock and livestock products, investment in veterinary infrastructure, sustainable animal husbandry practices.”
- New levy is a welcome development provided the funds will be utilised in a way that promotes research and infrastructure.
- The new levy will push the cost of production up which will be passed on to the final customer in the form of price increases. In the end, local products may become more expensive and people may end up preferring imports.
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