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FAO to provide technical support to Zambia’s co- financed Aquaculture Project

Fish supply to improve dietary requirements and livelihoods for growing population

29 May 2019, Lusaka - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock of the Republic of Zambia has launched today the technical assistance project inscribed within the Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project (ZAEDP) – an African Development Bank (AfDB) funded loan to the government.

In Zambia, while fisheries contribute significantly to the agriculture sector through capture fisheries and aquaculture, fish demand continues to grow due to the rising human population, increased preference of consumers and high costs of other protein sources such as beef. It is estimated that fish products account for over 30 percent of protein consumption particularly for low-income Zambian households. However, the growth in the Aquaculture and Fisheries sector has not matched the ever-increasing demand for fish, due to a number of reasons such as the sector operating  under-exploited levels, low  quality and quantity of fingerlings produced, lack of dedicated fish feeds, and more importantly lack of exploitation of its business opportunities as a profit generating sector by the financial institutions because of the perceived associated risks.

Speaking during the launch, Zambia’s FAO Representative, Mr George Okech, acknowledged the growing fish demand in Zambia and stressed that the project is expected to not only address this issue but go further with a significant contribution to food security and poverty alleviation in Zambia. The FAOR also remarked that the project will seek to create new jobs to ensure socio economic empowerment, amongst the youth particularly and women, by supporting them along the aquaculture value chain. And finally, the FAOR was proud to say that the project contributes to the SDGs 1, 2 and 14.

The ZAEDP will review the existing legislative, policy and management dispensation for animal/aquafeed manufacturing. Under the ZAEDP, there will be an assessment of the need for international best practice, and revisions of policy and regulatory frameworks to promote the production of safe, cost-effective and nutritionally appropriate aquafeeds. The programme will also build the capacity of staff in diagnostics and operationalize facilities as well as establish laboratories.

The Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, Honourable Kampamba Mulenga, highlighted that the project, through World Fish, would necessitate genetic improvement and discourage use of exotic fish species which may be a cause of ecological damage in watersheds where they are stocked. “Government is mindful of such negative environmental consequences” said Hon Mulenga.

Aligned with the FAO Country Programming Framework (CPF), the project is also an example of Blue Growth due to its holistic approach towards a sustainable increase of fishery products. This approach contributes to the improvement of food security, nutrition and livelihoods, optimizing the ecosystem services available, through improvements in aquaculture and post-harvest techniques. On the governments side, the project is equally aligned with Vision 2030 and the 7th National Development Plan 2017-2021, which are the documents that guide Zambia for aquaculture development, as well as the National Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP, 2014-2018) which place emphasis on private sector growth.

Through the overall AfDB funded ZAEDP, the programme will support research and knowledge development in collaboration with the WorldFish Centre (a member of the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers [CGIAR]) and national universities. Additionally, the project will produce various knowledge management products to inform the aquaculture sector within and beyond the Zambian boarders.

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