Zambia is embarking a program that aims at improving the rate of fish grown per hectare (ha) to supply the local market and promote fish exports, President Edgar Lungu recently announced.
The announcement was during the Copperbelt Mining, Agriculture and Commercial Show (CMAC) held in Kitwe in the Copperbelt Region between 1st and 5th June 2016.
Zambia counts with plenty of water resources and it is the government desire to support the fish industry to contribute more to economic growth, President Lungu explained.
Zambia is currently importing 45 metric tonnes of fresh fish annually even though it has 20 million ha of water, the President added.
Government’s concerned entities will soon hold meetings to elaborate programs with focus on increasing fish farming production per ha according to the President.
Every smallholder in Zambia contribute to the aquaculture industry with a yearly production of 2-2.5 tonnes of fish per ha according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Fisheries and Aquaculture Department.
Meanwhile, small-scale farmers contribute with a yearly production of 1-2 tonnes per hectare, far below the production recorded by commercial farmers at a yearly rate of 6 tonnes per hectare.
Zambia’s aquaculture sector has almost doubled its yearly production from about 10,000 tons in 2010 to 20,000 in 2014.
The aquaculture output in 2014 came from a total of 6,000 small-scale and smallholders whom own more than 13,000 fish ponds throughout the country and 15 active commercial fish farms in the Copperbelt according to FAO.
However, the Zambia’s total fish production was mostly supported by the approximately 50,000 fishers whom work directly in lakes and rivers, and that recorded 75,000 tons in the same year.
This is why private companies will closely work with small-scale farmers and smallholders to benefit them with the new technologies to be used in fish farming to secure reliable supply and support the sector’s sustainable growth.