By OLIVER SAMBOKO
THE Small Scale Fish Farmers Association (SSFFA) has backed President Edgar Lungu’s Government ambitious plan to restock fish in Luapula and other parts of the country, saying this is the only way Zambia can achieve its goal of bridging the fish deficit gap.
SSFFA chairperson Victor Chatilika said in an interview that the intention by Government will not only increase fish production in the country but also help in creation of the much needed self-employment for the millions of unemployed Zambians.
While in Luapula, President Edgar Lungu said his government has an ambitious fish restocking programme for the province as well as other water bodies across the country.
He said Government wants to ensure that water bodies are brought back to life in terms of fish stocks by improving productivity.
Mr Chatilika observed that while the country was slowly closing up the fish deficit gap, through implementation of the Aquaculture Seed Fund under the Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project (ZAEDP), more effort was required to increase the population of capture fisheries.
“While as a country we are doing well in the Aquaculture subsector, through the implementation of the Aquaculture Seed Fund under the Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project (ZAEDP), more is still required aimed at ensuring that we increase the population of capture fisheries which is fast depleting because of illegal activities on our water bodies,” said Mr Chatilika.
He said his association was happy with the programmes put in place by the Government aimed at enhancing production and productivity of fish to improve the livelihoods of beneficiaries in the fish value chain.
Mr Chatilika said the fish projects being spearheaded by President Lungu’s administration have started bearing fruits and is contributing to the country’s economic growth as well as providing food and nutrition security.
The Zambian Government with financing from the African Development Bank (AfDB) is implementing the ZAEDP project through the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries and the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) which has resulted in the country increasing the production of fingerlings to 44 million tonnes annually.