By OLIVER SAMBOKO
CHIEF Sinazongwe of the Tonga people says the Aquaculture Development Fund under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will remain just a song as long as it remains the preserve of political cadres.
Chief Sinazongwe said the implementation of the Aquaculture Seed Fund under the Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project has not benefitted the genuine farmers because in some cases politically-connected cadres are the ones that have been accessing the funds.
He said there will be need to put in strict measures aimed at identifying genuine farmers and clean up the ghost fish farmers from the system.
He said despite Government having released funds, the Aquaculture subsector has remained static because some people who received the money channeled it to other business.
Chief Sinazongwe bemoaned lack of access to funding by genuine farmers which he said if not addressed urgently, the country will continue importing fish despite sitting on 40 percent of the water resource in the region.
He said going forward, Government should make access to funding for development of the aquaculture subsector easier.
Chief Sinazongwe said for the country to achieve its goal of bridging the gap of the 80, 000 fish deficit, there is urgent need to depolarise the fund to allow more fish farmers access capital from the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission, the mangers of the fund.
“If we are serious with developing the aquaculture subsector as a viable and inclusive business, there is need to open access to funding in order to enhance production and productivity of fish,” he said.