‘Lack of good irrigation affects diversification’

LUAPULA Province Minister Benson Kapaya says lack of investment in irrigation has affected the diversification to growing cash crops such as cassava and rice, from fishing, which is the main economic activity in the area.  
Luapula is currently experiencing fish depletion due to poor fishing activities, lack of appropriate fishing equipment and dependency on the commodity by most of the people.
Brigadier General Kapaya has, however, called on fish farmers and patrol officers to take up the responsibility of ensuring that fish farmers do not practise poor farming methods and illegal fishing, as it threatens the development of the industry.
He said this at the on-going historical familiarization tour of the province where he is leading the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) team and the Finnish Ambassador to Zambia,Timo Olkkonen and his delegation to identify potential agricultural activities to help find solutions to challenges faced in developing the sector.
“Depletion of fish is yet another source of concern which needs concerted efforts as the province’s lack of investment in irrigation has affected the diversification of fish farming to growing other potential agricultural cash crops ,which has led to the depletion of fish in the rivers.”
“Luapula, as you may be aware, is endowed with water bodies and my earnest appeal is for people to invest in irrigation so that our people can one day diversify to crop growing from fishing,” he said.
There is also need to invest heavily in fish caging so as to cope with the growing demand of fishing activities in the province.
Earlier, Mr Olkkonen said he was saddened by the depletion of fish in the province, especially that it is the main source of income among the people.
Luapula has the potential to produce fish both for consumption and for sale due to the vast water bodies.The familiarisation tour, which started on May 16, 2015, is expected to end on May 23, 2015.

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