Zambia’s Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Michael Katambo says Zambia has a staggering bill of nearly K4 billion for importing fish. The minister said Zambia is spending more than K3.8 billion on fish imports to offset the national deficit.
“Zambian fish farmers are missing out on the K4 billion fish market. This calls for increased local participation and production,” Katambo said. Last year Zambia imported 126 345 tons of fish. About 89% of imports were from Namibia, while the rest are from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Asia and Europe. Additionally, there were informal imports totalling about 5 000 tons.
Until recently, Zambia, possessing 40% of Southern Africa’s freshwater resources, was a major fish producer. However, over-fishing and bad fishing practices depleted the country’s fish stock.
Katambo said it is saddening that the uptake for fish farming is still dismal, despite the huge potential the industry has to improve people’s lives and earn foreign exchange. “We put a number of strategies and programmes in place to increase local production but many people are still shying away from engaging in fish farming,” he said.
However, Katambo is optimistic that the national annual fish yield will increase with the recently introduced cage and pond farming methods. According to him, cage and pond farming will position Zambia as a major fish exporter in the next few years.