By Scoop Reporter
THE Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock has approved 736 aquaculture business loan applications from Zambians throughout the country valued at K 118.3 million.
Permanent Secretary Benson Mwenya has told The Scoop in a statement that this is within the framework of the US $50.89 million Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project (ZAEDP).
Dr. Mwenya says the project is co-financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Government of the Republic of Zambia.
“The objective of ZAEDP is to promote the aquaculture sub-sector as a viable and inclusive business opportunity. The enhanced production and productivity along the aquaculture value chain is meant to improve the livelihoods of Project beneficiaries.
“Our Ministry has since released US $10.3 million to the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC). This is the Fund Manager for the aquaculture seed fund that has been established by our Ministry,” Dr. Mwenya said.
He has implored the CEEC to start the disbursements of the funds without delay as his ministry is diligently implementing strategies that are aimed at reducing the fish deficit which is estimated at 87,000 tonnes annually.
He says the 736 projects are in addition to the 12 fish hatcheries and nurseries in all the 10 provinces valued at K 20.7 million which were approved in 2019 and are already receiving the funds through CEEC.
“This initiative will create 4,366 sustainable jobs resulting in an impact on the livelihoods of about 21,830 individuals countrywide. An increase of aquaculture production in Zambia by 1, 148 metric tonnes is envisioned by our Ministry at the end of December 2020.
“The development of the aquaculture value chain will significantly contribute to poverty reduction food and nutritional security in the country,” he said.