Closer cooperation between Zambia and Egypt can help fill the two nations’ fish deficit, said President Edgar Lungu.
“We have abundant fresh water, and yet we have a huge fish deficit. I believe we can learn from each other about enhancing fish production for consumption and export,” Lungu said during a visit at a fish farming project run by the Suez Canal Authority in Egypt.
The fishing industry has a relatively minor direct role in the economy of Egypt. However, domestic fish production makes a valuable contribution to the national food supply and to the traditional way of life, in which eating fish plays an important part.
In addition, it is a significant source of food for the tourist industry. In some cases, fishermen, especially in the Red Sea, sell their catch directly to restaurants or hotels. The industry is also important for the livelihood of nearly 70 000 fishermen and an estimated 300 000 related jobs.
Lungu directed Livestock and Fisheries Minister Michael Katambo to quickly implement an exchange programme with his Egyptian counterpart.
“This programme will be vital in accelerating research and innovation in aquaculture and fisheries will lead to greater impact for small-scale fisheries,” he said.
Zambia, whose national demand for fish is estimated at 120 000 tons per year, had a deficit of more than 45 000 tons. According to industry experts, destructive fishing practices were contributing to the deficit. The industry’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) was a mere 1%.