NANCY MWAPE, Mwandi
GOVERNMENT has given the Inyambo Community Development Trust in Mwandi district a K3.3 million loan to revamp the fish industry and promote exports to the world market.
Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda said it is a scandal to have about 50,000 tonnes of fish being imported from Thailand and China, yet Zambia is blessed with abundant water.
â€œAt the moment, there is a big scandal that we have allowed; Zambia is importing up to 50,000 tonnes of fish from Thailand and China. No wonder the Kwacha drops quickly in relation to the dollar because even things that can be produced locally, like fish, are being imported,â€ he said.
Mr Chikwanda said this in Mwandi district on Monday when he signed the loan agreement with the Inyambo Trust. The loan will be repaid in 15 years with a grace period of two years.
He said the growing world population is in need of fish protein, which is currently dwindling.
The minister said fish farming is a practical way of attacking poverty and stimulating development. He urged project beneficiaries to flood the market with fingerlings.
â€œIn the next one year, letâ€™s grow enough fish from the ponds; give lakes and rivers a two-year respite so that fish can grow and multiply. We should be mindful of the future generation and what they will eat,â€ he said.
And the Inyambo Community Development Trust commended Government for recognising the potential of Mwandi Integrated Fish Farm (MIFF) in alleviating poverty in the chiefdom and contributing to the economy of the country.
A representative, Induna Amukuteile, said MIFF was created to restock fish and reduce fishing pressure on the Zambezi River.
â€œThe MIFF provides an alternative source of proteins for people in the face of dwindling fish stocks in the Zambezi River and serves as a training centre for villagers planning to undertake aquaculture farming,â€ he said.
NANCY MWAPE, Mwandi