By OLIVER SAMBOKO
LAXITY in implementation of the Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project (ZAEDP), will adversely affect Zambia’s progress in meeting the 85, 000 tonnes of fish deficit per annum, Smallholder Fish Farmers Association (SFFA) interim chairperson Molida Tembo has said.
Government through the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock set aside US$29 million for the implementation of the Aquaculture Seed Fund under the Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project (ZAEDP), which is going to benefit 3, 000 entrepreneurs along the fish value chain in all the 10 provinces of Zambia.
Mr. Tembo said the continued delay in disbursing the funds for the project by the implementing agent, the Citizen Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) had potential to discourage many upcoming Aquaculture farmers and affect output.
He was, however, hopeful that Government was going to speed up the process so that beneficiary fish farmers could start production by early next year. Mr. Tembo said his members were geared for the project and looked forward to contributing to the country’s economic growth as well as provide food and nutrition security in the country.
“As an association, we are hopeful that the funds will be realised so the project can commence by early next year,” said Mr. Tembo.
Mr. Tembo said his organisation was encouraged by the PF’s Government decision to suspend duty on selected aquaculture equipment, saying the gesture was going to enable fish farmers to import equipment at low prices which in turn was going to trickle down to consumers.
He appealed to Government to continue to building capacity among fish farmers through training adding that this was the only way the country was going to raise productivity and make Zambia self-sufficient in fish production.