Zambian government to lend ZMW800 million to boost fisheries, beef

Finance Minister Felix Mutati announced that government was raising ZMW800 million (USD80 million) from a European bank and the EU to support fisheries and livestock production.

According to Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) News , the minister said government was already in discussions with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to source a ZMW400 million (US$40 million) concessionary loan. They will also open talks with the European Union (EU) in January to source a further ZMW400 million (US$40 million).

Mutati, speaking at a post-budget interaction forum in Mongu, Western Province, decried the fact that Zambia was an importer of certain meats.

“It is unacceptable to continue importing fish and beef when we have vast resource endowment in terms of land and water,” he noted.

With 15 million hectares of water in the form of rivers, lakes and swamps, Zambia has the potential for extensive freshwater fish production. The domestic demand for fish still outstrips local production with of 80,000 tons a year.

The fisheries sector supported an estimated 300 000 people. They worked as fisherman and fish farmers, or indirectly as traders or processors. It’s contribution to GDP was three percent out of agriculture’s 18% share to GDP.

Research showed that Zambia had the potential to increase livestock numbers five times, given the land and water resources. Currently, there were about 2.5 million cattle, 1.4 million  goats and just over 600,000 sheep. More than 70% of these were found in the smallholder farming system.

“There is potential to increase fisheries and livestock numbers, and our intention as government is to ensure that we support the sector with the right investment. Both can contribute significantly to job creation and sustainable food security,” he added.

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