An entire stock of fish fingerlings, valued at more than K90 000 were washed away by heavy rain in North Western Province.
The development ground to a halt a major fish farming initiative by government, meant to empower local people and accelerate agriculture diversification.
“As we speak, we don’t have any fish left and farmers who were waiting for stock are now in a quandary,” said Matthias Lungu, assistant aquaculture officer in the ministry of livestock and fisheries.
Lungu said K50 000 worth of fingerlings of various species were lost in the rain which fell in the province over the last few weeks. The fingerlings, destined for local farmers, were stocked at Solwezi Aquaculture Centre, the province’s main breeding plant. It has 20 ponds.
A further K38 000 worth of fingerlings, stocked at the same breeding centre, were also swept away. These were meant for Chavuma district under the Zambian government’s Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) and the Zambezi district’s Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) project.
Lungu said the breeding centre will need K30 000 to restart the province’s aquaculture programme.
Provincial minister Ben Kapita described the development as a major blow to economic growth in the region.
“We are importing fish. The breeding of fish locally would have helped close the gap and empower local people,” Kapita said.