THE African Development Bank (AfDB) says its financing of an agro-industrial project in Kariba will see tilapia production rising sevenfold to 20 000 tonnes by 2015.
This comes as demand for tilapia is rising, with the southern markets of Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, South Africa, Malawi and Angola having a deficit of 100 000 tonnes annually.
The quintet's annual total fish consumption is 1,3 million tonnes.
In 2011, AfDB said it was giving Lake Harvest Aquaculture US$8 million, the banking group's first private sector investment in Zimbabwe, in an effort to selectively re-engage the country.
The project is the largest sustainable tilapia fish farming in Africa. AfDB said Lake Harvest would produce 20 000 tonnes of fish annually.
"The company is primarily targeting African markets, with Zimbabwe expected to absorb 37% of the production. It will export a further 50% to markets in the southern African region," AfDB said.
AfDB said the project was expected to generate more than 900 new high-quality permanent jobs by 2015. It will contribute an estimated US$33 million at present value terms, in government revenues over the next 10 years.
"The project's developmental benefits include job creation, economic growth and diversification. Most of the fish is sold by women traders," the banking group said.
"It will also contribute to increasing government revenues, regional trade and integration, foreign exchange generation and enhanced food security, in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries."
Lake Harvest was formed in 1997 to produce high-quality tilapia for the European and southern Africa markets.
Since 1982, AfDB has supported local projects to the tune of about US$780 million.
AfDB has been availing funds to Zimbabwe indirectly through institutions such as African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and PTA Bank, where it has shareholding and it sees the Lake Harvest investment as the first step towards re-engaging Zimbabwe.