GOVERNMENT has given the Inyambo Community Development Trust a loan of K3, 3 million to boost fish production at the Mwandi Integrated Fish Farm project in Western Province.
The cheque was sourced from loads and investments division of the Ministry of Ministry and it will be repayable in 15 years’ time with a grace period of two years and the first repayment will be made in 2017.
Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda and Induna Amukuteile of Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta of Mwandi District in Western Province signed the loan agreement of K3, 341, 007.00 on Monday for the project.
Mr Chikwandai said the project was part of the transformative agenda supported by the the Patriotic Front (PF) Government as the whole needed fish for their proteins.
He said the world population by 2050 would be more than 10 billion people and they would need to eat cereals, proteins, beans, fish and dairy products among others.
“Fish is an important protein for the world community. At the moment, there is a big scandal which we have allowed.
“Zambia is importing maybe up to about 50, 000 tonnes of fish from dirty waters of China and Thailand. They have so many people there and their water is severely polluted and we are eating fish from waters which are not as clean as ours and we are loosing a lot of foreign exchange and no wonder this country runs out of foreign exchange and the Kwacha begins to drop very fast in relation to the dollar because even the things we can produce locally like fish we are importing. We should be exporting fish to Thailand and China so this is very important,” Mr Chikwanda said.
He noted that Zambia had attacked poverty from very lost platforms and long speeches instead of using better methods.
“Poverty does not respond to slogans and this is a practical ways. We are here as part of the development agenda of the PF.
“Inyambo Community Development Trust is a very good initiative. In Zambia and elsewhere in the world, development is hampered by delivery vehicles for ideas,” he said.
Mr Chikwanda urged the People of Mwandi to embrace the project and later flood Western Province and other parts of Zambia with finger limbs.
“Let us grow the fish and that way we will be widening the franchise of unity of Zambia. Fish grows very fast.
“We are being very selfish and eating fish which is supposed to grow fish on a large scale. We must think of future generations,” Mr Chikwanda said.
He said PF was promoting development whether people voted for it or not saying the development agenda would continue.
And Induna Amukuteile said the Mwandi Integrated Fish Farm was created with the objectives of reducing fishing pressure and restocking water channels on the Zambezi River.
He said the Farm was also set up to provide an alternative source of protein to the diet of local people in the face of ever dwindling fish stocks in Zambezi River.
Further, the Farm was set to serve as a training centre for those intending to undertake aquaculture and fish farming as well as to serve as a catalyst for the roil out of fish farming project in the chiefdom.
“After the creation of the Farm, Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta approached the Ministry of Finance to request the Government to support the Farm.
“I want to pay tribute to Mr Chikwanda for recognising Mwandi Integrated Fish Farm in playing a pivotal role of alleviating poverty in our chiefdom and in contributing to the economy of the country,” he said.
Induna Amukuteile said the loan facility would be utilised to meet the objectives of the Farm and other projects.
Mwandi District Commissioner Precious Muyenga said her District was a place of fish in the past but fish stocks had declined lately.
Ms Muyenga thanked the Government and President Edgar Lungu for rolling out development projects in Mwandi area.
“Senior Chief Inyambo working closely with African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) formed a trust known as Inyambo Community Development Trust to spearhead development projects in the chiefdom especially the fish project.
“The fish project started in 2009 with the help of AWF. The Trust managed to secure a grant from European Union to secure 20 fish ponds, an office block, a hatchery room, poultry house, water reserve, pump house among others,” Ms Muyenga said.