Monday, 9 May 2016

Copperbelt To Have First Ever Livestock Laboratory

By Paul Shalala in Luanshya
Cattle grazing in the Copperbelt town of Chililabombwe

Construction of the K4.5 million veterinary laboratory at Baluba in Luanshya have advanced.

Marks Industries Limited is constructing the two story building which will be helpful in fighting animal diseases on the Copperbelt.

It is a project which is part of the diversification process from mining to other industries on the Copperbelt.

For decades, Copperbelt province has relied on mining but slowly, agriculture is becoming the second industry in the area.

The construction of this multi-million state of the art veterinary laboratory will also be the first of its kind in the province.

For an area, with an extractive history of minerals, agriculture and animal husbandry seems to be taking root.

This laboratory in Baluba is expected to help authorities in combating animal diseases.

The structure is expected to have latest equipment using hitech gadgets to fight diseases which have ravaged the country.

The technology in this laboratory will be one of the best in the country.

So far, the ground floor is almost complete and works on the first floor are expected to start next week.

"We have done a lot of work and we are on course. Next week we will be pouring concrete on the second floor,” said Marks Industries Project Manager Brown Banda.

However, those in authority have their worries.

“This project has taken too long. Let me use this opportunity to ask the contractor to expedite the works. We want the laboratory to start working as soon as possible,” said Copperbelt Province Permanent Secretary Reverend Howard Sikwela.

But the contractor is optimistic that works are on course.

“We are hopeful that by October this year, we can finish all the works and hand over this laboratory to government,” said Marks Industries Public Relations Officer Fabian Mutale.

Currently, livestock farmers on the Copperbelt send samples of their animals to Lusaka for tests.

This is because the technology used to detect diseases and treat animals is not yet in the province.

But all that will be in the past, with the completion of this laboratory.

"Am happy with this project and i hope it can finish soon so that we can protect our animals from diseases," said John Tonga, a farmer in Mufulira who has been keeping livestock for over six years.

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