THE Government says annual fish production is expected to be increased to 40,000 tonnes from the current 36,000 once the Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project (ZAEDP) implementation period completes in 2021.
The ZAEDP is funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Government at a cost of US$50.89 million.
The project is aimed at stimulating a viable aquaculture sub sector in Zambia to promote economic diversification, food security and sustainable employment generation, all of which were central priorities of the Government.
Fisheries and livestock Permanent Secretary David Shamulenge said the Government was targeting to start producing 40, 000 tonnes of fish annually, by the end of the project which was launched in 2017,
Dr Shamulenge said in an interview in Lusaka that Government was working towards ensuring the country was satisfied in terms of fish production.
"We want to see a situation where the country stops importing fish, so our target for this project is 40,000 tonnes of fish from the 36,000 tonnes the country is currently producing annually. We have been increasing, at a certain point we were producing only about 16,000 tonnes.
"But the President Edgar Lungu has said the target should be double meaning we should produce 80 000 tonnes of fish, so when we reach this target we will not be importing as a country because we will be locally satisfied," Dr Shamulenge said.
He said the President and the Ministry were in a hurry to develop the aquaculture sector in Zambia from a deficit to a surplus c country in terms of fish.
The Permanent Secretary said the project had reached an advanced stage with the fingerlings production advert and evaluation process almost winding up.
Dr Shamulenge said Government would soon award tenders to enterprises that would be producing fingerlings under the project.
"We are going to give tenders to the people who will be producing fingerlings that are part of the US$24 million that is targeted for the private sector, aimed at empowering the youths and women.
"We are now preparing for those who will go into the actual fish farming, the advert will be coming in the next two weeks, the farmers will be able to participate and will be given an opportunity to access funds to go into fish farming," he said.
Dr Shamulenge said there would be three categories for those who would get money of up to K120, 000, K1 million and about US$1 million for the big ones who would be in the aqua parks.
He said the aqua parks in Rufunsa, Chipepo, Mungwi, Kasempa and Siavonga and among other areas.