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Helping Zimbabwe’s tilapia sector take off

FISH4ACP presents 10-year strategy for inclusive development of tilapia farming

16 June 2022, Harare – Tilapia farming can be a driver of inclusive growth in Zimbabwe, according to an upgrading strategy presented today to over 35 stakeholders and experts, who discussed ways to help the southern African nation develop its tilapia sector and promote opportunities for women, youth and marginalized groups without adding pressure on the environment.  

“Tilapia is key to our ambition to expand aquaculture production in Zimbabwe,” said Milton Makumbe, Acting Director of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources at a meeting today where a ten-year plan for the future of Zimbabwe’s tilapia sector was presented. He added: “This plan is of great help to our efforts and will contribute to poverty reduction, improved food security and economic growth.”  

The strategy foresees an increase of tilapia production to 20 000 tonnes per year combined with soaring benefits of small-scale tilapia farmers from less than USD 1 200 000 now to USD 60 000 000 with no negative effects on bio-diversity and eco-systems or added pollution. Moreover, the participation of women, youth and marginalised groups among small-scale producers will reach 40 per cent of the work force.

FISH4ACP is a global fish value chain development initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) implemented by FAO with funding from the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).  The initiative spearheaded the strategy involving stakeholders from across the Zimbabwean tilapia sector. 

During two days of discussion, 35 stakeholders and experts will discuss the upgrading strategy in detail until a roadmap for the development of tilapia farming emerges that has the buy-in of all the parties involved and the agenda is set for FISH4ACP’s activities and beyond its completion in 2025.  

“FAO is happy to shoulder Zimbabwe’s efforts to expand aquaculture production,” said Constance Pepukai, FAO's Head of Programs, adding: “FISH4ACP demonstrates how our mandate to transform aquatic food systems into drivers of employment, economic growth, social development and environmental recovery is becoming a reality.”  

Constance Pepukai explained that production increases can be achieved with better inputs and fingerlings, the adaptation of good practices and support for the cold chain and marketing. She added that FISH4ACP is already looking at ways to reduce the cost of feed by seeking alternative ingredients, such as the black soldier fly. She also stressed the importance of strengthening regulatory frameworks and compliance for social improvements and environmental protection to happen.