JIMMY CHIBUYE, Siavonga
PRESIDENT Lungu yesterday launched a US$10 million privately-owned fish farm with a call to increase domestic fish production.
And President Lungu has urged financial institutions and the private sector to increase investment in fish production.
The President said the future of fisheries development in Zambia lies in partnerships between Government and the private sector.
He said the private sector has a responsibility to play in the development of a vibrant aquaculture industry.
Mr Lungu said this yesterday when he launched Yalelo Limited, a privately-owned fish farm located at Kamimbi village on the shores of Lake Kariba in Siavonga.
The fish farm, which grows tilapia fish, has sales of 6,000 kilogrammes per day.
â€œIncreasing domestic fish production, especially aquaculture fish production will lead to increased job creation, improved access to protein as well as increased exports to neighbouring countries,â€ Mr Lungu said.
The President said the production of domestic fish, especially aquaculture fish, would not only create jobs but also reverse the trend of importing fish.
He said despite the increase in Zambiaâ€™s aquaculture fish production over the past five years, there is still more work to be done to further enhance the industry.
In 2010, aquaculture fish production was estimated at 9,535 metric tonnes and increased to over 19,000 metric tonnes in 2014.
Yalelo Limited produces five metric tonnes per day and the production is expected to rise to 15 metric tonnes daily in the next three months.
President Lungu said the increase in production is likely to lead to job creation and reverse the importation of fish.
He said Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, is supporting several initiatives aimed at supporting smallholder farmers to increase their productivity and market access in areas such as fish farming.
He said Government is partnering with the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) to invest over US$50 million in the fish industry.
â€œThe challenge that I have given my minister responsible for agriculture development is to ensure that significant investment is channelled towards increasing the countryâ€™s fish production,â€ President Lungu said.
He is happy that Yalelo Limited has employed about 275 people at its farm and other facilities in Lusaka.
He said Government will support initiatives aimed at creating employment for the citizens because it has a strong priority on job creation for the people.
Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Given Lubinda said it is unfortunate that Zambia has not taken advantage of its abundant water resources to produce enough fish to meet the ever-increasing national demand.
Mr Lubinda said the ministry is implementing the National Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP) aimed at increasing production and productivity in the fisheries sub-sector.
He said one of the projects under implementation is the US$8 million project on Lake Tanganyika aimed at developing infrastructure for the promotion of aquaculture.
Yalelo director Fisho Mwale said the company will always pay back to the community through training of the local people in fish farming and production.
Yalelo board of directors chairman Adam Taylor said the company has this month started formal production of 15,000 tonnes of fish to help stop the importation of fish.
And Chief Simaamba, who spoke through his representative, Fanwell Simaamba, thanked Yalelo Limited for opening the fish farm and pledged to continue supporting the companyâ€™s growth.
JIMMY CHIBUYE, Siavonga