Fish is a regular part of Zambian diet and each Zambian consumes on average 10 kg of fish per year. This level of consumption is equal to what the average Zambian consumes in meat (including 4 kg of beef). The rest consists in checken and other types of meat. Fish consumption was as high as 17 kg/head/year in 1971/72 but consumption was reduced as fish imports were cut to help ease balance of payment problems.
The present consumption of 10 kg/head/year is unevenly distributed between rural areas and urban areas. In the cities consumption reaches 15 kg/head/year while in the rural areas it is 7 kg/head/year. In urban areas, less that 20% of fish consumption or 2.5 kg is consumed fresh. Therefore there is a potential for increased fish consumption, particularly of fresh fish. As soon as 1990, it is expected that population growth should bring fish consumption from its present level of 55,000 T to a level of 74,000 T. This level of demand is equivalent to the maximum sustainable yield of Zambian water resources. Therefore, even if demand per caput stayed at the present level of 10 kg which is 40% of what it was in 1971/72, domestic capture fisheries will soon be insufficient to meet the needs of the Zambian population.
Annual fish production in Zambia varied between 47,000 T – 58,000 T during the years 1975–1981. Approximately 90% of total production is caught by some 21,000 artisanal fishermen while the rest is caught by some 50 industrial and semi-industrial producers and/or their crews. There are 8 main fisheries areas, 4 belong to the Zaire river basin and 4 to the Zambesi river basin. In 1981 the first group (lake Tanganyika, Mweru, Wa-Ntipa, Mweru-Luapula, Bangweulu) supplied 60% of total fish catches, the rest being supplied from the fishing areas of Lake Kariba, Kafue river, Lukanga swamp and Upper Zambesi, all belonging to the Zambesi basin.
Fifty per cent of the total catch of 1981 (50,638 T) was made of bream. Kapenta was the second most important catch with 13% of total, followed by catfish. No other species represented a significant share of the catch. For 1981, breams were caught mostly in Lake Bangweulu (6,540 T), Kafue river (5,483 T), Mweru Wa-Ntipa (4,759 T), Upper Zambesi (4,016 T) and Mweru Luapula (3,470 T). Kapenta was fished mostly from Lake Tanganyika (5,188 T) and to a lesser extent from Lake Kariba. Catfish cames from all mentioned fishing areas except Lake Tanganyika and Kariba.
PROJECTED DEMAND FOR FISH BASED ON POPULATION AND PER CAPUT CONSUMPTION INCREASE IN TONS
|At current level of 10 kg per caput||600,250||62,100||63,900||65,800||67,800||69,900||72,000||74,100|
|At 12 kg per caput||74,500||76,700||79,000||81,400||83,900||86,400||88,900|
|At 15 kg per caput||93,100||95,900||98,700||101,700||104,800||108,000||111,200|
Source: World Bank, Fisheries Development Project.
ZAMBIA FISH PRODUCTION BY MAJOR SPECIES, 1981, IN TONS
Source: World Bank, Fisheries Development Project, 1984
Because of long distances between fishing areas and consumption centers, and due to the lack of storage and transportation facilities, about 65% of total production is either sun-dried (kapenta) or smoke-dried (bream, catfish, lates and other). Smoke dried and sun-dried fish can be kept for several months, are available all year round in all major consumption centers and are part of the Zambian daily diet. Fresh-fish is prefered but its availability is restricted. Frozen and fresh fish are available on a non regular basis even in the urbanized area of the Copperbelt. Only Lusaka is being supplied on a regular basis, as it is close to the fishing areas of the Kafue river.
Fish is distributed through a variety of outlets, including retail stores selling meat and other food products; those have this facilities for selling frozen fish. Yet the main outlets are the city markets. The mission has surveyed markets in Lusaka, in Kitwe and in Chipata. The distribution system involves a minimum number of intermediaries. In the case of kapenta from Lake Kariba and Lake Tanganyika quite often there is only one wholesaler between the fishing community and the retailers. In the traditional market where most fish are sold, fishes whether fresh or dry are sold by unit, either of one fish, or one heap or one tin (dried Kapenta and dried juvenile bream). Changes in volume per unit of sales allow price changes without changing price per unit. For instance, in Lusaka, retailers use three sizes of tins: a smaller one for time of short supply, a bigger one for periods of abundance, like when catches are at their maximum in August and the standard one. Yet the price per unit stays the same for long periods.
Bream, whether fresh of smoke-dried is the main species supplied on the open markets of urban areas along the railway line, which reflects the fact it is the most important catch. It is also a favorite fish which in its fresh state commands a higher price than other kinds. For instance a market survey of the main fish market in Lusaka indicated that the average price of bream sold one by one was K8.06 while it was K5.60 for tiger fish, K6.27 for mormyrus and even less for other types of fish. The preference for bream is not as clear when it comes to the smoke-dried fish. In some instances, like for smoke-dried mormyrus sold at K15.00/kg, it does not seem to be the case. It is possible that the process of smoking tends to give a uniform taste to different species of fish but most of all, the samples taken for other species of smoked dried fish are too small to make reliable inferences. The price-ratio between fresh fish and smoke-dried or sun-dried fish confirms a preference for fresh-fish. Even if smoke-dried or sun-dried fish has a food content to weight ratio which is 3–4 times as high as for fresh fish, its price is never more than twice the price of the same fish bought fresh.
One thing which is more evident, at least for the Lusaka market is the preference for bigger size fish. Smaller size fish are sold in heaps of 2 or more fish of similar size sold at K2.00/heap, whatever the number of fish. Heaps weight varied between 0.3 kg and 0.5 kg. Average weight of heap was 0.369 kg for heap of 2 and 0.365 kg for heap of 3. Since fish of a same heap are matched to be of similar size, a fish exceeding 0.250 kg is sold by unit. Fish sold by unit is not weighted but priced according to size. Prices vary in increment of 1 Kwacha occasionally of K0,50. Bargaining is not a practice very much in use at that level as it is in other African countries. On average, fish sold by unit is sold at K8.06/kg. Price per kg varying from K5.00 to K11.11. The average price per kg for bream sold in heaps of 2 was K5.42, the range being K4.4–K6.67. The average price for bream sold in heaps of 3 was K5.48, the range being K5.00–K6.45. Thus, price of fish sold by unit is 40–50% higher than for fish sold in heaps.
There was a less extensive fish and meat market survey in Kitwe made by an officer from the Fisheries Department. Supply of fresh fish was less abundant, and prices for both fresh and smoke dried fish seem slightly lower than in Lusaka.
In Chipata, there were no supplies of fresh fish on both days the mission visited the market. Dried kapenta was in ample supply, coming mostly from Lake Kariba (yellow kapenta) and to a lesser extent from Lake Tanganyika (silver kapenta). There, as well as in Lusaka, retailers declared that consumers preferred silver kapenta from Lake Tankanyika to the yellow one from Lake Kariba. Yet this preference does not appear strong enough to justify a price difference. Even if kapenta from Lake Kariba has to travel 604 km more to reach Chipata than to reach Lusaka, it is sold at K1.00/tin compared to K2.00/tin in Lusaka, for similar size tin.
Actions have been taken by the government of Zambia through its Department of Fisheries, in order to reduce some of the constraints which hinder the growth in fish supplies and at least stabilize annual fish consumption to its present level of 10 kg per cap. One of those actions is a $10 million project to be financed through a $7.1 million loan from the World Bank. The project would consist first in extending loans to artisanal fishermen and small fishing enterprises of Lake Tanganyika, Mweru Wantipa, Mweru Luapula and Lake Kariba for buying fishing gear and equipment. It would also serve to extend loans to individual or companies willing to establish fish collection, marketing and distribution systems on Lakes Mweru Wantipa and Mweru Luapula. Also an ice plant would be built in Kafue which would help regulate the supply of fish and frozen fish to the Copperbelt Area and also to the Lusaka market, notably by reducing losses and improving quality. The impact of the project would be to increase total fish supplies by 7,000 T, out of which 1,000 T through reduced losses and 6,000 T through increased catches.
Another action consists in building 500 km of feeder roads leading to fishing communities in order to reduce cost and time of transportation. This project is financed by Canadian International Development Agency, for a total sum of C$26 million.
However, development projects concerning capture fisheries can only increase fish supplies to the maximum sustainable yield, estimated at 74,000 T. Beyond that level, which the pressure of an increasing demand could soon lead to, additional fish supplies can only come either from imports or fish-farming.
PRICES OF FISH, LUSAKA, APRIL 1985 (MAIN FISH MARKET)
|TYPE OF FISH||KIND||UNIT||SAMPLE SIZE||RANGE OF WEIGHT OF UNIT (KG)||AVERAGE WEIGHT OF FISH (KG)||PRICE/UNIT (K)||PRICE/KG (K)|
|Bream||fresh||pile of 2||13||0.300–0.47||0.185||2.00||5.42|
|Bream||fresh||pile of 3||4||0.310–0.400||0.122||2.00||5.48|
|Bream||fresh||pile of 8||1||0.420||0.050||2.00||4.76|
|Bream||smoke-dried||pile of 3||1||0.320||0.107||3.00||9.37|
|Bream||smoke-dried, oiled||pile of 9||1||0.250||0.028||3.00||12.00|
|Bream, juvenile||sun dried||tin||1||0.220||-||2.00||9.09|
|Kapenta (silver or yellow)||sun-dried||tin||1||0.150||-||2.00||13.33|
|Mormyrus||smoke-dried||pile of 2||1||0.200||0.100||3||15.00|
|Synodontis||fresh||pile of 3||2||0.450–0.500||0.158||2.00||4.21|
|Synodontis||smoke-dried||pile of 3||1||0.300||0.100||3.00||10.00|
|Catfish||smoke-dried||pile of 3||1||0.400||0.133||3.00||7.50|
|Catfish||smoke-dried||pile of 5||1||0.350||0.070||3.00||8.57|
|Catfish||smoke-dried||pile of 25||1||0.220||0.009||3.00||13.64|
|Schilbe mystus||fresh||pile of 3||1||0.600||0.600||2.00||3.33|
|Hippopotamyrus||fresh||pile of 3||1||0.400||0.133||2.00||5.00|
Source: mission survey
FISH & MEAT PRICES, RETAIL, KITWE, APRIL 1985
|TYPE OF FISH||KIND||PLACE||UNIT||PRICE/ UNIT|
|Bream||fresh||ZCBC (state shop)||kg||3.80||3.80|
|Bream||smoke-dried||ZCBC (state shop)||kg||6.00||6.00|
|Nile perch||fresh, filet||Garfish industries||kg||12.00||12.00|
|Nile perch||fresh fish||Garfish industries||kg||5.50||5.50|
|Barbel (catfish)||fresh||Garfish industries||kg||4.00||4.00|
|Filet of steak||fresh||Kamunga||kg||7.25||7.25|
|Chicken||fresh||ZCBC (state shop)||kg||5.80||5.80|