Yalelo Limited (Yalelo) has recently announce an investment of USD 9.5 million at its facilities in Siavonga in Zambia’s Southern Province to increase annual fish production from the current 7,000 tonnes to 30,000 tonnes within the next five years.
This investment is the result of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in August with Chinese company Famsun Company Limited (Famsun) to build a USD 6.0 million aquafeed mill that was meant to expand Yalelo’s process capacity up to 50,000 tonnes per annum (TPA).
The announcement was made by Yalelo’s CEO Bryan McCoy, whom in a statement to the press, explained that the expansion program would not only increase the company’s output, but also support job creation with 150 new full-time jobs and 100 non-skilled positions.
Zambia has the natural resources to be leader in terms of fish production in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) and Yalelo is ready to work in Siavonga to make it the region’s aquaculture capital, he added.
Yalelo’s expansion is in line with a nationwide project recently undertook by the Zambian government, which seeks to diversify its economy from the traditional livestock and crops mostly used by small-scale farmers and smallholders, to fish farming.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, every smallholder in Zambia contribute to the aquaculture industry with a yearly production of 2-2.5 tonnes of fish per hectare.
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.
This is why even though the aquaculture sector has almost doubled its yearly production from about 10,000 tons in 2010 to 20,000 in 2014 and quintupled from 4,000 tons in 2000, Yalelo will closely work with small-scale farmers and smallholders to benefit them with the new technologies to be used in the aquafeed mill to secure reliable supply and support the sector’s sustainable growth, Mr. Taylor added.
The aquaculture output recorded in 2014 came from a total of 6,000 fish farmers among small-scale and smallholders whom own more than 13,000 fish ponds throughout the country, and 15 active commercial fish farms spread along the railway that starts in the Copperbelt according to FAO’s research.
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.
It has reduced the availability of fish stocks in most rivers and lakes in Zambia, reason which the Government is undertaking the projects in Machiya and another one in Siavonga.