Government has launched the inaugural harvesting of fish by small scale fish farmers on Lake Tanganyika in Mpulungu District.
The fish cage farming for smallholder farmers on the lake was piloted by the Lake Tanganyika Development Project.
Northern Province Permanent Secretary Bernard Mpundu who flagged off the harvesting of fish from the cages has commended the Lake Tanganyika Development Project for supporting the project.
Mr Mpundu said the successful implementation of the project has killed the notion that fish farming on the lake can only be done with huge capital injection.
Mr Mpundu said this at the inaugural harvesting of fish from the small scale fish farming cages in Chipwa Village in Mpulungu District.
He said local communities and the villages spearheaded and managed the project on the lake successfully.
“You, the local communities in this village and other villages conducting fish farming on Lake Tanganyika were in the forefront in managing the demonstration fish cages and therefore demystified the belief that fish farming can only be conducted by wealthy business people. I would like to congratulate you for the success,” he said
Mr Mpundu indicated that government has also put in place measures to improve access to investment funds through the enhanced Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission.
He encouraged cooperatives, business entities and individuals to exploit the avenues and access funding to invest in fish farming.
He said the fish harvesting has also come at the right time when government is implementing the first ever fish ban on the lake.
He said the ban was not targeted at punishing the community but will in the long run help to increase fish stocks on the lake.
And Lake Tanganyika Development Project Coordinator Dora Kamweneshe explained that her institution supported the pilot fish farming on the lake to promote the venture.
Ms Kamweneshe said the pilot project has provided lessons for people to take up fish cage farming on the lake.
She said the community has learnt how to fabricate fish cages and install the cages on the lake.
Ms Kamweneshe explained that the successful implementation of the project will also help to improve income and nutrition for members.
She also commended the ministry of fisheries and livestock for capacity building and helping to implement the project on the lake.
Meanwhile, Chipwa Village Headman Isaac Sichilima has thanked government and the Lake Tanganyika Development Project for supporting people in the area.
He said the project has supported people to implement alternative livelihood projects.
Mr Sichilima said the project has not only supported the community with the fish cages but also given them goats.