Zimbabwe has plans to expand its tilapia production output by up to 20 000 tonnes over the course of the next decade, according to the FISH4ACP organisation. Following a number of meetings hosted in the Southern African country recently, the international fish value chain organisation reached the conclusion that this is an achievable goal.
FISH4ACP forms part of the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS), and is funded by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as well as the European Union (EU), and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
During the meetings, the group discussed various ways in which Zimbabwe’s tilapia sector could be developed and boosted. The stakeholders also discussed ways in which marginalised groups such as women and youth can be uplifted and promoted while ensuring the industry does not do any harm to the already-fragile environment.
‘Tilapia is key to our ambition to expand aquaculture production in Zimbabwe,” said Milton Makumbe, acting director of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources at the meeting. “This plan is of great help to our efforts and will contribute to poverty reduction, improved food security and economic growth.”
2025 and beyond
Thirty-five stakeholders and experts spent two days debating the upgrading strategy in depth in order to set the agenda for FISH4ACP’s operations as well as activities that will take place after the project’s completion in 2025 and has the support of all parties involved.
“FAO is happy to shoulder Zimbabwe’s efforts to expand aquaculture production,” said Constance Pepukai, FAO’s head of programmes.
“FISH4ACP demonstrates how our mandate to transform aquatic food systems into drivers of employment, economic growth, social development and environmental recovery is becoming a reality,” she added.
Pepukai noted that better inputs and fingerlings, the adoption of best practices, support for the cold chain, and marketing can all lead to gains in production.
She continued by saying that FISH4ACP is already considering methods to lower feed costs by exploring substitute ingredients, including the black soldier fly. She emphasised enhancing regulatory frameworks and compliance to achieve social advancement and environmental conservation.
Meanwhile, in January 2022, the Lake Harvest Group, which is a major tilapia producer in Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, secured Aqua-Spark and Norfund as long-term investors. Lake Harvest, which was founded in 1997, has long been a pioneer in Sub-Saharan Africa, with operations in three countries and sales and distribution in seven.
The Lake Harvest Group is in a great position for growth, according to Aqua-Spark, as it has its own distribution network, processing facility, and local employees with decades of experience. The farm also aligns with its objective and uses best practices such by-product sales, antibiotic-free operations, employee education, and genetic enhancement.