By MILDRED KATONGO –
FISH farming development goes back to the colonial period of Zambia but progress has been moderate for many years.
Fish in Zambia is still very much an essential food and a main source of protein.
Strong development in commercial fish-farming has been notable especially in the private sector.
Government backing of fish-farming development has consisted supply of fingerlings and providing some technical advice.
It is gratifying to note that Government is making strides in ensuring that fish farming was brought on a wide perspective by providing and opening up fish plants.
Plans by Government to put up a fish plant in Mpongwe’s Chief Machiya’s chiefdom are underway and the residents, who are mostly farmers, have welcomed the move.
This would encourage many small-scale farmers to venture into fish farming and help diversify the economy.
Government was currently undertaking reforms to ease entry of enterprising citizens in the private sector into aquaculture production.
The recent launch of fish projects in Siavonga and Chalimbana by President Edgar Lungu is a clear indication that Government is committed to having fish-farming on a larger scale.
Mike Mooba one of the farmers in the area, said the move by Government to put up a fish plant would help many farmers venture into fish farming and help boost the economy.
Mr Mooba said the move was meant to diversify the economy in order to reduce the dependency on copper.
“Us farmers here in Mpongwe , we are happy that Government plans to put up the fish plant, this will enable us also venture into fish farming, this will not only benefit us but also the nation at large,” he said.
He said Mpongwe having the first ever fish plant would attract more farmers and that the area would open up for development.
Mr Mooba said that the move would also see a number of infrastructure established, among them a good road network.
He said once the fish plant was in operation in the production of fish, it would allow the country to export fish and boost the economy.
Mr Mooba commended Government for the move and that it had a heart for the local people living in rural areas.