President Edgar Lungu has expressed concern with the increased cases of reported fish thefts in cages. President Lungu said the vice is a danger to the development of the aquaculture industry in the country.
He has since directed the Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, Nkandu Luo to come up with long-lasting solutions that will halt the problem.
The Head of State indicated that if unchecked the act can be a threat to investment opportunities and the country’s food basket.
The President was speaking when he launched the automatic fish harvesting vessel and the Kalimbi and Buyantanshi Aquaculture Cooperatives at Yalelo Farm in Siavonga yesterday.
President Lungu stated that government’s continued investment in the aquaculture sector will transform Zambia into a high exporter of fish in Africa.
He noted that the initiative, with a focus to empower more women and youths in rural communities will improve the livelihoods of many families in rural parts of the country.
The Head of State said government is implementing a number of empowerment programmes as a basis for accelerating development.
“The seventh national development plan is premised under the theme ‘accelerating development efforts towards the vision 2030 without leaving anyone behind’ our actions simply confirm our commitment to not leaving anyone behind,” President Lungu stated.
The Head of State further disclosed that the country has in the recent past become a hub for fish feed production.
He however, observed that fish feed was not accessible by many rural farmers across the country.
President stated that Zambia’s fish feed production capacity was above normal, hence the need for producers to establish outlets across the country.
“I am delighted to learn that Zambia has become a hub for fish feed production in the aquaculture value chain. As a country, we are now exporting fish feed to all the countries that surround us. This is highly commendable, “the President said.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Ngandu Luo said her Ministry has greatly contributed not only on the nutrition of Zambians but also in wealth creation.
The Minister noted that there has been an increased production of fish from 13 metric tonnes to currently at 40 metric tonnes due to investment in the aquaculture industry.
“I know that at the time you separated the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock from the Ministry of Agriculture, everybody is realizing this is a very important sector that was suffering under the name agriculture. But what you have brought to the table has greatly impacted on people’s lives in the country,” Prof. Luo explained.
She was impressed with the selection of women groups who will benefit from the empowerment initiative in Siavonga District which will improve wealth at household level thereby contributing to the economic growth of the country.
Prof. Luo assured that her Ministry will engage the Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure that thieving of fish comes to an end as it has affected small scale entrepreneurs involved in fish farming.
And the traditional leadership commended President Lungu for his passion and commitment to ensuring rural communities are empowered.
Chief Simamba of the tonga Speaking People in Siavonga District stated that the various developmental initiatives have created employment opportunities as well as spark economic activities in his chiefdom.
He however urged government to work on the road network and electrify the area stating that the absence of the two discourages investment.
The traditional leader said the area is one of the country’s tourism attraction hence can only be boosted if it was developed.
“You may be interested to know that there are a number of both local and international investors who would wish to bring development along the lake show but are discouraged because of the road status and lack of electricity,” Chief Shimamba disclosed.
Meanwhile, he implored government through the Electoral Commission of Zambia to improve the voter registration services if they are to capture the targeted nine million voters in readiness for the 2021 general elections.
Chief Shimamba assured President Lungu of the traditional leadership’support to work with his government in enhancing development to all parts of the country.
President Lungu has since concluded his working visit in the district and has retained back to Lusaka.