Socio-economic transformation among traditional cattle keepers in Kafue flood plain in Namwala District, Zambia

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Kalapula, Shepande Chaabila
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A study was conducted in Namwala’s Baambwe and Maala areas to assess changes in the value of cattle among traditional cattle keepers with respect to shifts in production goals,introduction of livestock markets, coping strategies and government interventions in the promotion of livestock sector. Questionnaires were used to collect data from respondents(cattle keepers) and interview schedules for key informants. Data were mainly analysed qualitatively to compute proportions in production goals and off-take rates. The results showed that although objectives for keeping cattle re-enforce each other, financial security was ranked the first and most important primary objective for keeping cattle. This is due to the changing economic environment resulting in an increase in the demand of money in the rural economy with available markets. In addition, following the establishment of commercial cattle buyers such as Zambeef and Starbeef, the socioeconomic situation among the traditional cattle keepers has changed from mere accumulation of cattle for prestige and social standing in society to entering into the market economy. Increased cattle marketing has encouraged transformation in production goals for keeping cattle to acquiring universally accepted items such as solar panels, television sets, vehicles, dip tanks, iron-roofed houses, fencing and retail shops among others. However, livestock production remains below its potential due to the effects of recurrent cattle diseases and climatic variability. To this effect, the government and other stakeholders are helping in sustaining livestock production. It is concluded from the study that cattle keepers are rational economic actors whose production goals and strategies are determined, not only by cultural and ideological considerations, but by constraints and opportunities imposed by the wider social, political and economic environment. Transformation has occurred, particularly among successful cattle keepers, accumulating both money and assets. They have responded positively to the introduction of cattle markets by selling surplus cattle. And, in order to improve management practices among cattle keepers in Baambwe and Maala areas, the study established that there is need to increase the utilization of veterinary inputs and improving extension services in disease monitoring, treatment and surveillance while improving livestock marketing possibilities for all categories of cattle keepers.
Cattle-Economic Aspects, Zambia , Cattle-Social Aspects, Zambia