THE Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries has pledged to support initiatives aimed at revamping the aquaculture industry in the country.
Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Permanent Secretary David Shamulenge observed that the country has a fish deficit of about 90,000 metric tonnes, hence the need for other stakeholders to come on board and supplement Government efforts in addressing the shortfall.
Dr Shamulenge said this in a speech read on his behalf by Director of Fisheries Patrick Ngalande, during the launch of the Zambian Aquaculture Cooperative Society (ZACOSO) in Chilanga yesterday.
He regretted that despite Government putting in place funded programmes and projects aimed at improving the fish stocks in the country, many fish farmers have failed to utilise the opportunity and grow the industry.
Dr Shamulenge said there was need to consider fish farming as a serious and lucrative activity that would contribute effectively towards resolving the continued fish deficit.
He further observed that if properly nurtured, the Aquaculture industry has potential to contribute to the country’s sustainable economic development.
Apart from adding to the country’s food nutrition values, the industry has the capacity to create viable job opportunities for local farmers and other community members, thereby reducing poverty levels.
Speaking during the same launch, ZACOSO President Collins Kachaka reiterated the need to improve and support fish farming as an economic activity for poverty reduction and job creation.
Dr Kachaka said the launch of the cooperative was in response to the continued depletion of fish in the country’s numerous water bodies.
He said the cooperative has over 430 members across the country who have been trained and have set up fish ponds as a way of mitigating the current fish shortfall.
Meanwhile University of Zambia (UNZA) Dean in the School of Agricultural sciences Benson Chishala said plans were underway to revise the university curriculum, to be more practically and oriented especially in courses like fish farming.
Dr Chishala said this would enable students have a hands on experience and an entrepreneurial mindset of creating employment among themselves.
He advised farmers in the aquaculture sector to consider value addition to the fish that they produce, as way of attracting foreign markets. – ZANIS