Hybrid Magur Fish Farming

The most popular type of aquaculture in Zambia is based on the Cichlidae family. Compared with agriculture, aquaculture is still in the initial stage of its development. There are many aquaculture development programs that are provided by donors to support smallholder farmers.

The successful introduction of fish farming methods from Eastern Europe has aroused people’s interest all over the country, and many farmers have adopted these methods. However, mainly due to the reduction of extension services and the lack of measures to encourage commercial fish farmers to increase their production, fish farming is rapidly decreasing. In any case, fish production is important to Zambia’s employment, income and as a source of food. Aquaculture in Zambia has the potential for further development. Zambia is a major aquaculture producer in sub-Saharan Africa, with an estimated production of more than 8 500 tons/year.

The fish farming methods used are diverse, and the farming activities are mainly carried out at three levels: small-scale, small-scale producers and commercialization. The cultured species are different, including bream, carp, Nile tilapia and crawfish. An institutional structure has been constructed, a national aquaculture strategy has been formulated, and the Zambian government is reviewing fisheries legislation including aquaculture development.

Cultured species
Commonly used species in aquaculture include Oreochromis andersonii, Oreochromis macrochi, and Tilapia rendalli. The yellow-edge tilapia strain of the Kafue River is the most popular cultured species in the commercial farming sector. Other species include carp (Cyprinus carpio), Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) and Procambarus clarkii (Procambarus clarkii).

Fishery development status
In recent years, Zambia’s fishery has developed steadily and has become an important source of income for residents in rural areas. However, due to factors such as unscientific fishing methods, low fishing techniques, and lack of effective management, Zambia’s fishing output has failed to achieve growth and cannot meet the domestic market’s demand for aquatic products.

40% of Zambia’s area is covered by fresh water, including the Kariba Reservoir located between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The water capacity is as high as 5,400 cubic kilometers. Lake resources are one of Zambia’s advantages. In addition, Zambia’s soybean industry is also very prosperous. Zambia also has unique advantages in fishery feed ingredients. The most important advantage is the love of eating fish in the entire Zambian culture. Almost 55% of the protein intake of Zambian residents comes from aquatic products and 65% of which comes from tilapia.

In order to promote the diversification of the Zambian fish market, meet the growing demand for protein in the domestic market, and increase the level of catfish exports, the Zambian government will invest in catfish farming to diversify the country’s aquaculture sector.

The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Zambia, Robert Sichinga, said that the government is investing in catfish farming to diversify its domestic aquaculture sector. Currently, Zambia catches only 70,000 tons of fish each year. Minister Sichinga said: “We are expanding the fish farming industry. In addition to focusing on tilapia, we are now also introducing catfish. This is part of the diversification of the Zambian fish industry.” He said in an interview that the introduction of catfish will help for economic growth.

Muyunda Ililonga, executive secretary of the Zambia Consumers Association, believes that this is a good exploration of the people’s dietary choices by the government, and the introduction of catfish will increase people’s demand for protein. When the prices of beef and chicken are rising, the introduction of various fish is necessary to promote nutrition and improve national food security.

Zambia’s 2014-2018 National Agricultural Investment Plan shows that the annual fish consumption per person in Zambia is estimated to be around 6.4 kg, which meets more than 40% of the animal protein intake in the usual diet. According to forecasts, Zambia has a population of 15.2 million. The annual consumption of fish is about 152,000 tons and the annual export is about 120,000 tons.

Although increasing fish products can meet people’s needs, promote exports, and improve economic levels, it also puts considerable pressure on the fishing industry. Therefore, the investment plan also calls for rational management and rectification of the fishing industry while contributing to economic development.

According to the Zambian Food and Agriculture Organization, through the development of fish farming, Zambian aquatic production will reach an annual output of 285,000 tons in 2017, of which tilapia will account for 40% of Zambian farmed fish, and the output value will reach 57 million US dollars.

News from Zambia Daily National News on November 7, 2019. Zambia’s Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, Luau, said yesterday that the government has no plan to immediately ban the import of fishery products, otherwise it will violate the free trade promise. She said that as of March this year, Zambia’s fishery product gap was 87,000 tons, and she urged increased investment in fish farming to meet domestic demand and even achieve net exports.

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