BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
FISH producers in Zimbabwe want government to introduce a 10% surtax on all fish imports entering the country to support the local fish farming industry.
In a report following the 2019 fish farming indaba held recently, the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council (LMAC) said the proposal would capitalise an aquaculture development fund they want introduced.
“For Zimbabwe to realise the full potential of aquaculture, the private sector and government must work together with financial institutions to establish an Aquaculture Development Fund….,” the report read.
“It was proposed (in the meeting) that a surtax of 10 cents/kg on all fish imports entering Zimbabwe be implemented, which will then directly capitalise the fund. This innovative idea was discussed and recommended by participants.”
Zimbabwe Fish Producers Association (ZFPA) believes that fish production in Zimbabwe would grow significantly, with aquaculture proudly taking its place alongside the chicken, pork and beef industries as a key supplier of tasty, nutritious, home-grown protein for a growing population.
“With the right policies and strategies, there is enormous potential to develop fish farming in Zimbabwe, using tilapia — Africa’s own indigenous fish, which achieves good growth rates under intensive production,” LMAC said.
Zimbabwe has relatively developed aquaculture and is one of the top-ten fish farming countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to ZFPA, the country’s aquaculture sector can produce 20 000 tonnes of fish, creating 10 000 direct jobs and another 10 000 indirect ones.
LMAC said as the fish farming industry was growing, there was need for accredited and certified trainers to provide expertise and practical training to fish farmers as well as bio-security requirements for fish farming, including effective pest control, regular monitoring of water quality and correct handling of fish to ensure that fish are maintained in a healthy environment for optimum production.
Some of the commercial fish farms in Zimbabwe include Lake Harvest Aquaculture (Kariba), The Bream Farm (Kariba), Mazvikadei Fish Farm, Clairmont Trout Farm, The Trout Farm and Inn on Ruparara.