Royd Mukonda, a determined young entrepreneur, is making a difference in the aquaculture sector in Kabwe town, Central Province. In addition to upscaling catfish production, Royd engages with women and youth to help realise their potential as key players in agri-food systems.
Over the past four years, Royd has increased his own catfish production capacity to 300 000. His 20 employees manage about 700 000 fingerlings (three or four-week-old fish) per month and recently just set up cages on Mulungushi Dam in central Zambia.
The Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project (ZAEDP) is an initiative funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB), with the technical assistance of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). This initiative provided Royd Mukonda with online training in aquatic animal health during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, Royd’s farm has developed proper disease surveillance and expanded its capacity with minimal challenges during a time of global crisis and change.
“We had diseases in 2020, but it was easier to handle everything because we were more skilled thanks to the project.”
Royd wants to fully support his community by investing in women and youth. He offers training on cage culture and value addition strategies to 18 farmers. For Royd, youth play a critical role in development being more adaptable and better equipped to navigate business risks. He appeals on their behalf to stakeholders to provide greater access to finance, marketing, and capital opportunities so that the agricultural sector can thrive.
“It is high time we increase access to finance as college graduates lack capital to start or maintain a business. If helped to access funding, equipment, resources, and industries are set up, levels of unemployment will be reduced in the country.”
Royd’s goal is for Mukasa Fish Farm to support people’s wellbeing through nutrition, making it an inspiration for farmers to replicate aquaculture developments in the community, and eventually reaching a production capacity capable of feeding the entire country.
This food hero is using his entrepreneurial spirit to improve agriculture and make it attractive to youth, giving people in his country hope for a better future.