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The extent of fish-farming in Zambia is not very well known. Most recent estimates give as 313 ha the total surface under production including 47 ha or 15% in government stations, 180 ha or 58% in commercial farms and the rest 86 ha or 27% in rural ponds exploited mostly for self-consumption. This area estimates of 313 ha represents a substantial increase from the 1967 estimate of 100 ha.

There are 19 governement stations, with a total of 338 ponds, of 1,400 m2/pond on average. The number of commercial fish-farmers is estimated at 90. Total number of ponds is estimated at 500, with an average of 3,600 m2/pond (including small reservoirs stocked for fish-farming). There would be around 2000 rural farmers which have included fish-farming in their activities; they would exploit 2,162 ponds with an average of 400 m2/pond.

Average yield for governement stations is estimated at 2 T/ha which represents a total annual production of 94 T for that sector. Commercial fish-farms are estimated to have average yields of 3 T/ha which would give a total annual production of 540 T. Rural ponds have estimated yields of 1 T/ha, for a total production of 86 T. Thus total fish-farming in Zambia would be about 710 T. Those figures were estimated in collaboration with FAO/UNDP project management. This nevertheless represents a substantial increase from the 1967 level of production estimated at 88.7 tons.

At its present state of development, fish-farming production would represent less than 2% of total fish production in Zambia. But taking into account that output from fish-farms is sold fresh, it represents around 5% of that fresh fish supply.

Fish-farming development goes back to the colonial period of Zambia but progress has been moderate for many years, notably because of lack in government support as economic conditions have reduced budget required for development programs. Governement backing of fish-farming development has consisted in supplying of fingerlings and providing some technical advice. However the strong development of commercial fish-farming which has happened in the past 5–6 years in private farms and companies has been largely autonomous, with minimum governmental involvement except for supplying of fingerlings. A new fish-farming development project, to be implemented with cooperation of UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) and the Zambian Catholic Secretariat consists in creating 380 rural fish-farming operations of approximately 1200 m2 each (2–3 ponds) in the Western province. The project would be implemented over a period of three years and, if successful, would add some 45 ha of ponds to the existing fish-farming capacity.

Since 1980, a FAO/UNDP project has been implemented in order to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of large scale fish culture. The general objectives of the project were:

  1. to increase the total production of fish in the country for additional annual protein for human consumption;

  2. to create employment;

  3. to substitute fish imports and have foreign currency.

Since its inception in 1980, the FAO/UNDP project has allowed the development and management for three government fish-farming stations at Chilanga, Mwekera and Chipata. Different data collected during development and operational phase have been collected and analyzed during the present mission.

4.1 UNDP/FAO project

4.1.1 Development program

The UNDP/FAO project did realize different renovation and development activities at Chilanga, Mwekera and Chipata. At Chilanga following activities were carried on:

At Mwekera, development work covered the construction of 16 ponds of 0.25 ha water area, with a maximum water depth of 1.3 m and 0.5 m freeboard and equipped with monk type outlets. Also included in the project was construction of four line feeder canal of 0.4 m × 0.6 m.

In Chipata, project staff proceeded to the upgrading of the old pond networks (clearing and repairing of old ponds, construction of new inflow canals, deepening of canal between dam and road). Yet the major work consisted in the construction of 9 ponds of 0.5 ha. each to be located on the right bank of the Masupe river downstream from the existing complex. Pond construction cost in Chilanga

The 0.5 ha pond built in Chilanga was completed during the last half of 1981, at a cost of K8,062.20 which is equivalent to K16,124 per ha. The total cost was broken down as follows:

Earthwork (6,500 m3)6,839.00
Sand (Transport)80.00
Gravel (Transport)54.00
Cement (7 Bags)33.40
Labour (1,120 m.h)548.80

The cost of K16,124/ha is considered as high as the harvest pit is seen as experimental. It was then expected that building a private fish-farm under normal circumstances would cost K10,000/ha. Pond construction cost in Mwekera

Project included renovation of 34 ponds in 1982 and 1983, and construction of ten new monks. Each monk required 24 m-h and cost approximately K100. Work also included construction of one duck house, of 6 manuring cribs and the fencing of one pond.

The major development work consisted in building 16 ponds of 0.25 ha each, which can be filled to a maximum water depth of 1.3 m, freeboard being 0.5 m, equipped with monks and four line feeder canals of 0.4 × 0.6 m. Construction was started in June 1983 and was finished by November except for installation inlet pipes and construction of 8 monks. the whole construction contract done by Brunelli Construction cost US $86,052.94 (equivalent to K79,878.34 at 1982 average exchange rate), which brings the cost per ha to US$21,513 or K19,970. The cost breakdown was as follows:

1 - Clearing and site preparation9,090
2 - Construction of dikes and pond bottoms29,098
3 - Excavation of drains4,411
4 - Construction of culverts1,972
5 - Construction of feeder canals8,628
6 - Construction of outlets12,365
7 - Construction of inlets3,417
8 - Dressing of dikes5,848
9 - Contingencies (15%)11,224
Total86,053 Pond construction cost in Chipata

Like for the farms of Chilanga and Mwekera, the UNDP/FAO project included different renovation activities which in Chipata were the following:

Those activities were carried by project staff.

In addition, construction of 9 ponds of 0.5 ha each was contracted out to Brunelli Construction at a cost of US$112,837.61. Those conditions were obtained on the ground that the contract would be paid in US dollars and taking into account the fact that the required equipment had already been brought to the area for implementation of another project.

Some problems were met namely that start of construction activities was delayed for two months since some villagers had planted maize on planned site, despite warnings from officials. Also contrary to what appeared on plans, Masupe river was flowing on portion of planned pond site. Therefore, the river had to be diverted, which involved more earthwork than initially planned. Construction work was completed between May 1983 and December 1983. In Kwacha, construction cost comes to K141,118 (average rate of exchange for 1983: $ 0.7996) which is equivalent to K31,360/ha. Applying the 1982 average rate of exchange the cost per ha would have been K26,906 (US$25,075).

Construction costs in Chipata was broken down as follows:

1 - Clearing and site preparation10,497
2 - Construction on dikes and pond bottoms46,279
3 - Excavation of drains9,074
4 - Construction of outlets9,599
5 - Construction of feeder canals8,618
6 - Construction of inlets2,518
7 - Dressing of dikes11,534
8 - Contingencies (15%)14,178

Construction costs in Chilanga, Mwekera and Chipata indicate the trends in pond development cost. All were machine-built, over a period of three years. The first operation, at Chilanga concerned construction of a single 0.5 ha pond with special outlet structure, therefore, should have been relatively costly; yet the final cost came to K16,124/ha. The second operation in Mwekera concerned a 4 ha pond complex development with 0.25 ha ponds where cost per ha came to K19,970. The last operation in Chipata involved 0.5 ha ponds on a development covering 4.5 ha; the cost per ha came to K31,360. The rise in cost comes mostly from the trend in rate of exchange of the K which went from $1.1516 on average in 1981 to $1.0773 in 1982 and $0.7796 in 1983. If the cost per ha is expressed in US$, the difference in cost of construction per ha between the three sites is much smaller:


Year of construction198119821983
Total pond area developed (ha)
pond size (ha)
Total costK8,062US$86,053US$112,838
Average rate of exchange ($/K)1.15161.07730.7996
Total cost in K8,06279,878141,180
Cost/ha in K16,12419,97031,360
Cost/ha in $18,56821,51425,075

Construction cost/ha, US$
Mwekera21,514 (+16%)
Chipata25,075 (+17%)

4.1.2 Fish-farm management (Chilanga)

The UNDP/FAO project also introduced new management techniques in the three government stations under project, once the renovation and development phase was completed. The results obtained will be used as reference when planning for fish-farming development and management. However only the Chilanga station has so far managed to produce production records which can be used as a basis for planning. In Mwekera, only very recent harvest yields have been recorded. In Chipata, difficulties like insufficient supplies of fingerlings have kept yields at a level which cannot be considered as a basis for planning.

During the years 1976–1979 before the UNDP/FAO project started at Chilanga, yields varied from 156 to 463 kg/ha/year. After the start of the project different management options were applied namely feed with fertilizers, pig cum-fish and duck-cum fish, stocking either with a mixture of O. andersonii, O. macrochir and T. rendalli or monoculture of O. andersonii or C. carpio. Feed and fertilizer

A first cycle started in February 1981 and ended in May-June 1981, was done on the 16 cemented ponds, stocked with the three mentioned species at a density of 3–4/m2. Superphosphate (46% P2O5) and Sodium nitrate (15% N) was applied. Feed consisted in a mixture of maize bran and sunflower oil cake. Production cycle last 113 days for 10 ponds, 102 for 2, 74 for 3 and 70 for 1.

Yields varied from 1.938 T/ha/yr to 4.932 T/ha/yr with an average of 4.640 T/ha/yr.

A second experiment was made in 6 cemented ponds with the three species of fish stocked separately. Stocking density was lower at 2.5/m2. The cycle last longer from August to January (275 days). The same fertilizer mix was applied and a mix of 50% maize bran, 50% sunflower oil care was used to the amount of 69.25 kg/100 m2 for the whole cycle. Yields were lower than in the first experiment ranging from 1.53 T/ha/yr to 2.11 T/ ha/yr. Food conversion ratios varied from 3.3:1 to 4.5:1.

A cycle period more than twice as long might explain the difference in yields, although this is not specified. The impact of change in stocking method is not mentioned either.

Further experiments in the C-pond complex using maize bran (40%) and sunflower oil cake (60%) and a stocking density of 425 fingerlings per 100 m2 gave yields of 3.62 T/ha on a basis of 365 days production per year and 3.02 T/ha on a basis of 304 growth days per year (taking into account the cold period of June and July where growth is almost nil). A lower stocking density of 200/m2 could give comparable results like for pond C15 in 1983, when yields reached 2.88 T/ha/yr on a 304 days basis. Pig-cum-fish

A series of experiments with pig-cum-fish option were on a 17 ares pond, between July 1981 and January 1984. Records show following results

Production periodStocking density
(per are)
30-7-81 – 31-1-822797.226.0
11-2-82 – 24-8-823696.387.7
9-9-82 – 20-1-834359.848.2
3-3-83 – 5-9-832155.077.1
0-1-84 – 2-3-842549.938.3
5-1-84 – 2-4-842557.396.2

A corrected yield was computed in order to take into account the fact that production cycles not covering the months of June and July would give overestimated production yields, while it would to the contrary for cycles including those two months. The correction is done by referring to a 304 days years which does not include the cold months of June and July.

Production results indicate that stocking density is not a significant factor in yield differences, as for instance 254/100 m2 gave yields slightly higher than yields obtained with 435/100 m2 (see table).

Initially, the number of pigs per ha of pond was 114; it was later reduced to 94. Pigs are bought as weaners at 25 kg and sold after 5 months at a weight ranging from 70 to 100 kg. Feed conversion ratio observed for pigs was 5:1. Pond yields with pig-cum-fish have varied between 6.0 T/ ha/yr and 8.3 T/ha/yr during that period. Duck-cum-fish

Experiments were made in 1981 with Muscovy ducks stocked at a rate of 1000/ha. Each female gave 54 eggs/year out of which 90% were fertilized. Natural incubation was used resulting in an average of 4 ducklings per female per year. However the Muscovy ducks did not stay long enough in the water to produce adequate manuring. Therefore, this species was replaced by Peking ducks in March 1982. Natural incubation was replaced by artificial incubation using 2 incubators of 600 eggs capacity each. Peking ducks are transferred to fish ponds when they are three weeks old, the optimal stocking density is 500/ha. In the early trials, yields obtained with duck-cum-fish option averaged 5 tons/ha/yr, based on one year production. Project management has later realized yields of 7 T/ha/yr. Polyculture of Cyprinus carpio and Tilapia

Experiments were made of raising tilapia in association with C. carpio of Japanese origin. Only daily growth rates have been kept. Records also show that carps naturally bred in the pond. However, incidence of poaching was high and otters, who prefer big size fish, took their toll. The problem of poaching and predators, added to problems of broodstock supply for this non-indigenous species, and product marketability, do not encourage further development of this type of culture.

Experiments at Chilanga showed that a pure strain of O. andersonii gave better growth rates than the original mixed stocked used before start of the project. Other experiments also show that bisex culture of O. andersonii give growth rates more or less similar to mono-sex culture. Mwekera fish-farm

In Mwekera fish-farming station, at the start of the project, existing ponds were upgraded and renovated. Some of them were stocked with O. andersonii broodstock in order to produce fingerlings for the new ponds, some with O. andersonii in mono-culture or with carp fingerlings, others with carp fingerlings only. All ponds were fertilized with chicken manure at a rate of 5–10 kg (dry) per day (5 days/week), except Pond N° 7 which was stocked with ducklings. Chicken manure was thus bought from Copperbelt Power Company at K2/50 kg or K0.04/kg. However information available is not sufficient to provide yields.

It was observed that the presence of ducks reduced predation by tadpoles and frogs. Ducks also clear aquatic weeds.

The completion of the new pond complex at the beginning of 1984, allowed the implementation of a production program. All ponds would be stocked with O. andersonii at 2.5/m2. Two ponds would be under fish-cum-pig culture; two under fish-cum-duck; two with inorganic fertilizers; two with feeding soyabean cake and maize bran; two would include polyculture with common carp (1/10 m2), using chicken manure and local feed; six would be fertilized with chicken manure of three possible types.

So far only one production result has been fully recorded. That was for Pond N° 7 (2793 m2) on which 150 ducks had been put. Production cycle started on February 2, 1983 with stocking of O. andersonii (2.5/m2). On March 31st, 1983, 100 carps fingerlings were stocked. Initial stocking was 279 kg (40 g per fingerling). Production after 7 months was 1.634 T. This is equivalent to a yield of 8–9 T/ha/yr not counting months of June and July, if the estimated weight of fish stocked is correct.

One harvest was taking place during the mission on Pond 16 and the results were not available then. Chipata fish-farm

Before the management program introduced by the UNDP/FAO project, ponds at Chipata station were drained every two-three years and production rates were low.

Development program at Chipata was started in May 1983 and completed in January 1984. Management program was initiated, based on the use of maize bran, rejected maize and floor sweepings from the local mill (200 kg/day). New ponds were stocked with O. andersonii. One pond of the new complex was used for breeding purposes as the old part could not meet the requirements. Stocking density was 2.5/m2.

Management options used were: duck-cum-fish, mill sweepings, mill sweepings and compost. Feed is given 5 days per week at the rate of 2 kg per breeding pond and 25 kg per production pond. Computation of yields is complicated by the fact that both stocking and harvesting operations were done in many sequences. During year 1984 which was the only full production year since completion of expansion, best results were obtained on Pond n° 1 where duck-cum-fish was applied and when yields one 140 days cycle were 6.444 T/ha/yr. In another experiment with ducks yields were only 1.355 T/ha/yr but with a low stocking density of 20 fingerlings/are. Mill sweepings and compost gave yields varying between 2.135 T/ha/yr to 4.433 T/ha/yr. Mill sweeping only gave yields of 1.614 T/ha/yr and 3.158 T/ha/yr.

Production results were impaired by difficulties in producing fingerlings in adequate quantities.

It must also be mentioned that ducks were fed with mill sweepings, and rejected maize as project budget could only cover the cost of the expert. Yet ducks fed on that diet could reach an average weight of 2.35 kg in 16 weeks.


The mission also visited different individuals and companies presently involved in fish-farming in the Copperbelt area and around Lusaka. They are the following:

Copperbelt are:

Lusaka area:

Commercial fish-farmers in the Copperbelt and the Lusaka area can be grouped in two broad categories.

  1. Corporate concerns who have added fish-farming to their main activities for one or many of the following reasons:

    1. as a means of providing food to their workers;
    2. to implement President Kaunda's directive to diversify in agricultural production so as to reduce Zambian economy's dependency on non-renewable resources;
    3. to recycle local funds which cannot be changed in hard currency.
  2. Individual farmers who have added fish-farming to their other farming activities, as a way of using existing water resources and by-products generated by their livestock and poultry raising activities.

Main relevant characteristics of commercial fish-farming as found by the Mission were:

  1. Commercial fish-farming has developed essentially in the past 5–6 years. Therefore commercial, intensive and semi-intensive fish farming for commercial purposes is a relatively new activity.

  2. In general, fish-farming is not the major source of income of the concerns and individual farmers who carry it, although in some cases professional managers run the fish-farming activities on a full-time basis.

  3. Fish-farming development has been financed mostly by companies and individuals own funds. Outside financing for fish farming development has been used on a limited scale.

  4. Commercial fish-farmers met by the mission have shown a genuine interest and enthusiasm for their activity. Many are planning to expand their facilities. All are interested in bringing their operations to their full potential.

  5. Development and management of fish-farming operations have often been carried without proper technical backing. Therefore inadequate design and pond management practices have brought insufficient yields.

  6. Although many species are being raised including carps, clarias and hybrids species (O. niloticus and O. aureus) most fish-farmers have obtained best results with monoculture of O. andersonii. Former practice of raising mixed species (O. andersonii, O. macrochir, and T. rendalli) has been abandoned by many farmers.

  7. Fish is usually sold at farms to traders. Farmgate prices in the Lusaka area are slightly higher, at K4.00/kg, than in the Copperbelt area where fish is sold at around K3.00/kg.

  8. Different feeding and fertilizing practices are in use. Only two enterprises produce their own feed for fish. Others use chicken litter. Common practice is raising duck-cum-fish and pig-cum-fish as the main source of natural fertilizers. However, few commercial farmers keep regular records of stocking, harvesting and feeding operations which make it difficult to deduct reliable conversion ratios.

  9. Fish-farmers have been encouraged by the results obtained so far and believed in the possibility of good financial returns through better management practices. Best results for pond fish-farming have been obtained at CPC farms.

  10. Water supply have been a problem for some of fish farmers, mainly during the 83–84 rainy season which was exceptionally low. Increasing existing dam capacity appears to be the most convenient way to obtaining adequate water supply.

The next section gives a description of operations of different fish-farms visited by the mission.

4.2.1 Lazy A Ranching Co. Ltd., Chingola

Lazy A Ranch is an integrated meat producing enterprise which includes a 10,000 acres farming operation and meat processing unit with wholesaling and retailing facilities. Total investment amount to 4 million Kwacha and the turnover is 3 million Kwacha per year, mostly from cattle sales. Fish-farming operations are carried from 18 ponds of 25 × 50 m for a total area of 2.25 ha; total production is 6.3 ton per year and turnover is around K10,000. Therefore, fish farming represents less than 1% of total volume of operations.

A development program is being implemented, which would create 15 additional ponds. The final objective would be to have 60 ponds of similar size (total area: 7,5 ha).

Present fish-ponds complex was developed on unused and unusable swamp land which had first to be drained; there is ample water supply from two dams developed with Lazy A ranch equipment. With 68 inches of rain the last season, compared to 56 the year before, there is no water supply problem. If need be existing dam could be raised to increase the holding capacity of reservoir.

The soil has much clay under superficial soil, which is adequate for dam and pond building. There is no seepage problem.

Fish-farming development was financed by company's funds by reinvesting profits.

The Shiel brothers, owners of Lazy A ranch were already involved in fish transport and distribution, distributing fish from Lake Tanganyika and Lake Mweru. They also owned fishing boats and gear operated by fishermen who sell them their catches. They knew the market and were interested in fish-farming.

Their fish-farm was started with no particular technical backing except FAO text book on Fish-farming in East Africa. The species raised are O. macrochir, O. andersonii and T. rendalli. The rendalli does not do very well but O. andersonii is giving the most interesting results.

Fish are fed leftover from feed given to cattle, including maize bran, chicken litter, and calcium phosphate. So far much of the feed seems to be lost down the pond, untouched by the fish. They are fed once a day, 5 kg/day.


Pig manure carried from pig manure tank has been used as fertilizer but it does not seem to give results as good as fresh pig manure.

Price of feed

Cost of feed including cost of mixing ingredients comes to 8–13 N/kg.

Production cycle

Ponds are stocked at the beginning of winter with small fish harvested previously. They are left in the ponds for a period of 9 months. Growth is very slow during winter period. After 9 months, all ponds are reaped within a 2–3 weeks period. Then small fish fingerlings are stocked in one pond until all ponds are put under water.

There has been thought of using the ponds for growing vegetable during the winter period.


The son of one of the owners takes care of management.


One man is in charge of feeding the 18 ponds and maintaining them. At harvest time, one flying team of 15, part of the 140 men strong workforce, takes care of harvesting with nets. Labor costs for general labor is 2K/day.

Price of fish: K3/kg for tilapia. It has increased over the past 4–5 years while the price of beef was rather stable.


Initial stock was obtained from Mwekera fish farm. The best breeding period seem to be August and September.


The fish-farm has been under production for three years. This year's harvest, which was done around end of the year, in a 2–3 week interval, gave an average of 350 kg/pond for a total of 18 ponds. All ponds have equal dimensions of 12.5 × 18 m2 which is 12.5 areas. This represents a production of 6300 kg for 2.25 ha or 2.8 T/ha. They were under production for 3 years, had two harvests.

Taxation: 15% on net income for farms; 45% on net income for all other businesses.

Pond construction

The 18 12,5 × 18m2 ponds were built in less than two months, using a D-4 and a grader. Dikes are 4 m wide at base, 3 m on top. No extra earth was needed. In the present expansion, one D-4 could clear and level 2 acres of land, an area sufficient for 3 ponds in one day. A D-7 can build 2 ponds per day. A D-4 may be a little less. Contracted out, a D-7 costs 80K/hour and a D-4, K55/hour. Sometimes, Lazy A. ranch rents out its equipment for direct costs only (labor, fuel), that is K30/hour for the D-7.

The cost of developing a 18 ponds, 2.25 ha fish farms like Lazy A. ranch would come to K8640 not counting construction of inlets and outlets (6 days using a D-4 for clearing, 9 days of using a D-7 for pond construction). This indicate that total construction cost would be less than K10000/ha, according to the figures given by Mr. Shiel.

4.2.2 W.L. Cherry Ltd., Ndola

W.L. Cherry farm is located in Misundu near Ndola. It is a mixed farming operation to which fish-farming was added recently. The owner Mr. Richard Brown was interested in fish-farming because it had low capital cost, was a flexible operation, had low labor coefficient and its product is easy to market. He had 8 ponds of different dimensions, for a total of 2 ha of water. Cost of development (in 1981) was K5000/ha. The construction was done by Government Land Use Services over a period of 30 working days, at a time when rental cost for earthmoving equipment was K35/h. Commercial rate at that time was K54/h. Present rates charged by Land Use Services would now be K60/h.

However, ponds were dug in water table which makes harvesting operation difficult. During the visit to the farm, workers were ending a 2 months harvesting operation during which 60–70 kg of fish were harvested from ponds, with gill net, 4 days per week. Total harvest was about 2000 kg this year. This was the second year of operation. The first year had given a less than 1000 kg harvest. Mr. Brown was hoping for another 200 kg harvest for the next year. Large fish ( 200–290 g) is sold at K3/kg. Smaller fish is sold at K2.50/kg. It was observed that best growth results were obtained with O. andersonii. Poaching is a very serious problem in the area.

4.2.3 Mrs. Rosen's Farm, Ndola

Mrs. Rosen is a businesswoman who is fabricating and bottling a soft drink made of maize. She is considering getting into fish-farming. Next to her farm she has built a 2 ha dam recently finished. The dam was built in 6 months using only labor. A team of approximately 10 people was working 7 days/week, using shovels and wheelbarrows. Daily rate was K3/day. “Sometimes” K2 was added for overtime. A small grader was also used for a period of 5 days for deepening the dam.

The dam was approximately 100 m long, 4 m high and 1 m wide on top. Inner slope was 1/1.5, outside slope 1/1. Thus it is estimated that the whole job represented a total volume of earthwork of 2400 m3. Each man-day represented approximately 1.3 m3. Counting only cost of regular time (K3/day), cost per m3 of earthwork would come to K2.28.

4.2.4 Mr. Kaira's Farm

Mr. Kaira heads a transportation company. He is doing fish-farming with other farming activities on a part-time basis near Kitwe. He developed his farm through the year 82, 83 and 84, using only labor. The fish-farm now includes 3 ponds of 40 × 26 m, 5 of 72 × 18 m, 1 of 60 × 28 m and one breeding pond of 5 × 15 m. Ponds are about 1 m deep with 0.5 m freeway. One pond was partially dug in the rock. Broodstock was obtained from Mwekera fish-farming station. Stocking has been done in 1983 and 1984 but he did not know when was the right time to harvest. On the day the mission visited his farm, it was obvious that some ponds were full of fish. Fish are fed chicken manure bought from Canso Farm at K1/bag of 60–70 kg. It was specified that this chicken manure is not the one made with saw-dust, which is usually kept for gardening. Other farms sell their chicken manure reportedly at K9/kg of 60–70 kg.

4.2.5 Ndola Lime Company, Ndola

Ndola Lime Company is one of the major mining companies in Zambia. In 1979, the company built 3 fish ponds on an experimental basis, as a part of its plan to diversify into agricultural activities. Each pond is approximately 70 × 25 m. Dikes are approximately 6 m wide. All these ponds were built with a company-owned D-8, part time on a three-month period in 1979. Production started in 1980. There are plans to expand to a total of 15 ponds of similar size. Water is supplied from an old company quarry used as reservoir. Initial stock of O. macrochir, O. andersonii and T. rendalli was obtained from Mwekera fish farm. Production is bisex. Ponds are fertilized with duck manure (1800 ducks are kept in a duck house near pond N° 1). Chicken manure is also used at the rate of 50 kg/pond/week. Also feed judged unsuitable for chicken is put in ponds. Inorganic fertilizer (superphosphate) is also put in ponds as supplement fertilizer at the rate of 10 kg/month. Production cycles last 12 months. One partial crop in 1982 from the three ponds gave a gross production of 1695 kg. Another crop brought 1350 kg in May 1983.

Fingerlings are restocked in ponds. Market size fish is sold to company employees at K2,0/kg (1984), alongside other products from company's farm. Chicken are sold at K5/head (N1, 5 kg), ducks are sold at K7,5/head (around K2/kg).

4.2.6 Copperbelt Power Co. Ltd., Kitwe

C.P.C. farm was developed in 1979 (1st phase, 14 ponds), following a president's request that companies start farming. Total pond area is now 7.4 ha. Production of fish started in 1980. Initial stock was provided by Mwekera Station: O. andersonii, O. macrochir, T. rendalli. Best production results were obtained with that O. andersonii. Introduction of livestock came later around 1981. Ducks were introduced for getting manure for the fish. Pigs were introduced in 1984. Dairy cattle (Jersey cows) were introduced in 1983, starting with 14 heads.

C.P.C. has been raising carp, at first mixed with other species, now in a separate pond. The stocking was done in November and harvesting has yet to be done.

All ponds are now stocked with three spotted bream (O. andersonii) except for pond #28 which is used as feeding pond for the yellow belly fish (Seranochromis robustus) which will be stocked as predator and pond #6 which is used for producing carp.


The feed consists of chicken litter sweepings containing 20% of maize bran. Feeding is done twice a week, at a rate of 130 gr/m2 week but actual feeding would be closer to 100 gr/m2 week. Chicken litter is a by-product of the chicken raising operation. CPC has 43 chicken houses, with 1000 chicken each. Each house is swept every three weeks, giving 50–60 bags. Each bag officially weighs 50 Kg but the real weight is closer to 40 kg (38T of manure/1000 chicken/yr). Chicken litter is also sold out at a price of 3K/bag (if bag is provided) or 4K/bag. Two thirds of chicken manure production is sold to the public.


Some inorganic fertilizer (2C phosphate) was used at the beginning of operations but the practice was abandoned. Now, pig manure is used for one pond. Pig manure production was 400 kg last year: maximum production would be 600 kg for the existing number of pigs. No chicken litter sweeping is used in combination with pig manure.

Duck manure is also used but ducks are not kept on the water since it causes production losses.


For the past year, maximum yield was 8,7 T/ha/yr, lowest was 1.3 T/ ha/yr, and average was 4.07 T (net production of ponds in production). All those performances were obtained from stocking with mixed species. Pond with highest performances is pond N°17, a small pond of 1599 m2, maximum depth of 1,62 m and minimum depth of 0.4 m.


Operations are done by 8 laborers paid 67 N/hour for a 45 hours week (5½ days) and one supervisor paid at 90 N/hour for the same workweek. (Total labor cost: K15000) Main activities are feeding, harvesting and net mending. Extra labor is occasionally required for repair work and slashing grass.


Fish-farming operation management is done by 2 managers who are sharing their time between fish-farming and other farming activities, and one full time advisor-biologist.


Total gross production for 84–85 period (April 84 – March 85) was 32.98 tons. Of this total, 6.5 tons were kept for restocking. Net production is estimated at 26. Production for 83–84 was 18 T. Production for 82–83 was 29 T. For those three years, the same pond area was under production. Low production of 83–84 was due to the fact that ponds were cropped only once. There was less management input during that year.

Production cycle

Production ponds are stocked twice a year. So far ponds 10 and 11 were used as breeding ponds but were cropped only twice a year. CPC had 10 crops in March. On average, there is a crop once a week.


Total sales for 84–85 period were 52,000 K, that is 26,000 kg sold at an average price 2.0 K/kg.

Other stocks: Pigs: 51, Chicken: 43,000, Ducks: 290

Other production: Pigs: 200, Chicken: 120,000, Ducks: 5,000

4.2.7 Bauer Farm, Lusaka

Bauer Farm is located near Lusaka. The main source of income is a meat processing unit of 70 pigs/week capacity. The farm has two production ponds of 20 × 80 m each. It has also a breeding pond of 15 × 25 m2 (depth: 1.5 m).

The production ponds were built with Mr. Bauer's own staff and equipment (caterpilar) 3–4 years ago, the cost of fuel was K3200. The feeding pond was built at a cost of K1200 (K300 of earth movement and K900 of labor and bricks).

The water has to be pumped from the river and water requirements are high since the soil is sandy, causing much seepage.

Bauer Farm raises carps obtained from South Africa and from Chilanga. Carps breed once they have reached approximately one kg. Production ponds are harvested once a year at Christmas time. Total harvest is 500–600 kg, representing a gross production of 3,125 T/ha/yr to 3.75 T/ha/yr. The small fish is given to the staff. Individuals of more than 1.5 kg are sold mostly to resident Russians and Yugoslavs, at K8–9/kg.

Despite the problems created by sandy soil, Mr. Bauer would be interested in expanding pond area to 10 ha, provided he can find a capable manager.

4.2.8 Kafue Fisheries, Kafue

Kafue fisheries is located at 90 km from Lusaka, on the Kafue river. It has 18 ha of ponds and is owned by T.A.P. building products (managers: Mr. and Ms Flynn). Development of the fish farm was as follows:

October 81: 5 ha of production ponds and 0.23 ha of feeding ponds plus road.
October 82: 5 ha of production ponds.
1983: No development.
1984: Development of 7.5 ha of production ponds.

They do not want to grow bigger because they could not grow more pigs. They are thinking of expanding in rice, as the government is expected to ban rice imports in 1987.

Water is supplied from the Kaufe river which flows alongside the farm. All the water is being pumped.


Elevation being approximately 1000 feet lower Lusaka, average temperatures are higher than at Chilanga Station.

Associated husbandry

600 pigs are kept on the fish-farm. Each production pond has its pigsty. The ratio is 50 pigs/ha.

Pigs are purchased as weaners at 50–60 kg and sold at 90–100 kg. It sells 2000 pigs per year.

Main species raised is Oreochromis andersonii. Other species were raised previously, like the oreochromis mossambicus, but the focus is on O. andersonii which gives the best yields. Also, Seranochromis robustus (yellow belly fish) have been purchased from local fishermen at market price to act as predators. The stocking process includes 3–4% predators. The stocking density is 30000/ha, the weight of fish varying between 10–20 grams. Use of predators has increased from 70% to 90–95% the percentage of marketable fish.

One pond has been stocked with carp but the results have not been satisfactory because of low stocking density (the carps were bought from Chilanga fish farm).


Yields are superior to 4 T/ha/yr. Their objective is to rise them to 6 T/ha/yr. Fish which are too small are dried on concrete slabs and sold as feed to Zambia Sugar Company.


Only the pigs are fed, 3 times per day. The pigsty is cleaned twice a day. Pigmeal is purchased from National Milling Co. Occasionally, yeast is added to pigmeal, as well as some fish meal. Stockfeed for pigs amount to 8 tons/week. Cost is (K30/kg).

Water needs

The fish farm requires 39,000 m3/ha/yr of water. Diesel costs K47,000/yr, which is 40% for lighting, 40% for pumping and 20% for boreholes. Pumping is important due to a high degree of evaporation.

Construction costs

Cost of pond construction since the beginning of the farm comes to K10,600/ha of pond. All asbestos built pigsties have been built at a cost of K1300/unit.

Annual turnover for Kafue Fisheries is K600,000. Operation costs are K300,000/yr, including K36,000 for labor (27 laborers). Depreciation is approximately K100,000 which makes the operation seem profitable for a farm whose development cost K900,000.

4.2.9 Mubuyu Fish-Farm

Mubuyu farm covers 3000 acres used to grow wheat of 25 ha of reservoir which are filled half of the year. Water required for growing wheat has to be stored in those reservoir for irrigation purposes. At the moment, water used for growing wheat brings better financial returns than water used for growing fish.

The farm has 50 ha under water, including 15 reservoirs covering 25 ha. The hatchery complex covers 4 ha, including 10 circular tanks for larvae rearing. It has an incubating capacity of 1,000,000 eggs.

Ponds were constructed in 1981. Construction was contracted out to a firm. Total cost was 0.5 million K. Unit cost was 3K/m3.


Production was started with imported species. Local species were added: andersonii, macrochir, mossambica, rendalli. They were first put in spawning ponds and then rearing ponds.

Those species have given very small fish.

Imported specimen from Israël, Malawi and Zimbabwe are grass carp, silver carp, mirror carp, nilotica and aurea. These were stocked in April but are still in breeding ponds.

Artificial breeding

Artificial breeding is carried according to instructions given in Woynarovitch's book, by hormone inducement.

Production cycles

Hatchery: 10 days.

Juvenile rearing tanks and ponds: 3 weeks

Production ponds: rest of the year (8 months, not counting winter months).

Production results

Since 1981, a total of 120 T of fish was harvested which averages 30 T/year. There is no figure on comparative yields of different techniques. Artificial and organic fertilizing, crop waste, soya bean, wheat and sorghum are in use. The farm has equipment for making feed pellets.

Stocking density: 2/m2: Losses are estimated at 50%, mostly by theft; predators are also active. There is no sexing of fish.

Number of employees: 20, for fish farm only.

Payroll: K1500/month, not counting management time.

Power costs: Electricity bill comes to K1800/month (fish farm and hatchery).


Feeding is done by using 6 oxcarts, 12 oxen. One cart lasts 5 years, costs more than K1000 and carries 500 kg.


Fish is sold at the farm, to traders, at 4K/kg. Catfish is filleted and sold at K8/kg. Catfish acts as predators. At harvest time, reservoirs are emptied. A sample of 20 kg of fish has been sent to Japan and an order is expected.

Under development

A 300 acres reservoir with 16,000,000 m3 holding capacity will be ready soon. The dam will have 440,000 m3 of earth. Cost of construction will be K6/m3 using mostly own equipment. Market rate would rather be K20/m3. The reservoir would cover two years of water needs (annual needs for 1,200 ha being 8,000,000–9,000,000 m3).

4.2.10 Zambia Sugar Company (ZSC), Mazabuka

An extensive fish-farm with a capacity of 1 ton/week of fish, has been developed downstream from ZSC network of 11 reservoirs and upstream from its 11,000 ha of irrigated sugar cane fields. Therefore, the fish farm is not costing the company any money in terms of water use. The main purpose of the fish farm is to supply the company's kitchen with a regular supply of fish for its workers. Relative price of fish in comparison to beef has been decreasing, as the price of beef was going up. Also, coming from the western area of the country, workers have a preference for fish over beef.

Water supply

Water supply comes from a network of 11 reservoirs used to irrigate 1100 ha of sugar cane field. All water has to be pumped from nearby Kafue river. The fish farm being located downstream from those reservoirs and stream from cane fields, water used by the fish farm is recycled in the irrigation scheme. Therefore the only additional cost for water is the extra length in pipes.

Species of fish raised

Production is concentrated on hybrid obtained by crossing tilapia aurea male with tilapia nilotica female taken from an original stock which was purchased from Sterling University.

Production cycles

PondsDurationFinal weightSize of PondN.
1) Breeding ponds2–3 days<1 GR177 m2 (15 m. diam.)  1
2) Raceways3 weeks1 GR10m×75(m×0.25)11
3) Fry tanks3 weeks3–5 GR   6
4) Fingerling tanks6 weeks10 GR  
5) Rearing units20 weeks250 GR10×1.5m=11m320
Total32 weeks   

Breeding ponds

Ponds with mud bottoms are used to produce straight aureus, nilotica and andersonii. They are six in number, dimension 12 × 25 m (300 m2). They are stocked at a rate of 200 female and 40 male per pond. Production is 50 fry/female/month from September to end of April.

The round arena pond with fingerling traps and ring for females has 19 m diameter and 1 m depth; its area is 177 m2. It produces 10,000 fingerlings per week of macrochir. Production of hybrids is more difficult.

The 2 other concrete ponds have 10 × 25 m2. They produce 20,000 – 25,000 fingerlings/year.

Mud bottom ponds have the disadvantage that fingerlings tend to hide in nests at time of harvest. Therefore, concrete bottom ponds are preferred.

The production of fingerlings was 250,000 for the 84–85 season, not counting andersonii.

Resting ponds

Four circular of 6–7 m diameter and 0.75 in depth are used for holding the original stock received from Sterling University, and also for holding crayfish.

Trial ponds: ZSC has 10 trial ponds, of 3 m × 0.75 m each, to try new feed, new vitamins.

Rearing tanks

20 rearing tanks of 10 m × 1,5 m × 1 m depth with a baffle in the middle are used for bringing fish from 10 grams to 250 grams in a period of 20 weeks. Each tank holds 5000–6000 fish. A harvest time, some 4000 are left, as during growth period, bigger fish are stocked in tanks stocked earlier and smaller fish are put in a dam outside. At harvest time, water level is lowered and fish are netted out. Each tank uses 8 m3 of water per hour. The whole system (hatchery and production) uses 200 m3/hour of water all year round. There is no need to pump the water (that is for fish farming). There has been no water supply problem so far.


The fish-farming unit has a feed processing unit including on machine for crushing oil seed (cotton, soya), one milling machine, one mixer, one pelletizer. One batch of field included the following ingredients: fish silage (fish meal and molasses), algae (from local research project), blood, soya, cotton seed, sunflower, maize, wheating, yeast, kapenta, dryfish, leuchena.

The feed needs are 100 T/yr. The feed costs for 85–86 are estimated at K40,405 which represents K404.05/tons. Feed conversion rate is between 1.5:1 to 2:1.

Budget: Pro forma budget

Sales revenues (50 T @ K3500)175,000 
 Protective clothing1,3201.1
 Chemical and repairs*25,25021.9
 Feeding stuff40,40535.0
 Cleaning materials1,3611.2
 Fuel (for transportation)7,4496.5
 Total expenses115,486100.0
 Gross margin59,914 

* Urea and sulphate used mostly for a research project on algae.

Total investment was 471,000K, to be amortized over 20 year.

Rate of return: 11% (with chemicals)
17% without counting chemicals (20 years)

These rates of return are based on a cut down price of K3.50/kg which is K1.50 lower than the sell-out price of K5.00/kg (local retail price is K7.00/kg).

Cost of fencing: fencing costed K40/m. It is estimated that it would be much more expensive now.

The feasibility study made at invitation of project had estimated a I.R.R. of 20%.

Carp: Carps are sold to the kitchen. They feed on live plankton but are difficult to keep alive.

Rates of growth: Specific growth rate have shown to be as follows:


Sexing: No sexing is being done but high stocking density avoids breeding.


Zambia Sugar Company5.00 K
Kafue Fisheries4.00 K
Mubuyu Fish-Farm4.00 K
Lazy A Ranch3.00 K
C.P.C. (Sales to employees)2.00 K
Ndola Lime Company
   (Sales to employees)
2.00 K
W.L. Cherry3.00 K

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