Kabaghe prods Zambians to go into fish farming

By Staff Reporter

CAPITAL Fisheries chairman Chance Kabaghe says importation of fish into Zambia should not be a forever phenomenon.

Speaking when Alliance for Keep Zambia Clean, Green and Health awarded Capital Fisheries for high levels of hygiene in Lusaka on Monday, Kabaghe explained that Zambia ought to adopt a strong strategy of upgrading its aquaculture sub-sector by, for example, restocking new fingerlings in various fresh water bodies and closely monitoring people’s fishing methods.

“We need to have a very strong strategy of upgrading aquaculture by maybe restocking new fingerlings and also monitor the utilisation…. No one should use mosquito nets when it comes to harvesting of fish,” Kabaghe said.

He said the Aquaculture Association of Zambia where he is also a board member was a key institution that should ensure sustainable fish farming methods in the country in order to deal with possible deficiencies.

“But because of the high deficiency of fish in the country.…We are talking about 75, 000 metric tonnes per annum that we need to import,” Kabaghe revealed.  “You can imagine, December, January and February, we normally have a fish ban. Then where is fish going to come from?”

He added that there was need to nicely balance between increasing local fish production and slowly reducing importation until a time when local production would satisfy the market.

“We have our container just by the banks of lake Bangweulu in Samfya and I was there just two days ago; there was no fish to eat. Even the fish we had brought in from Thailand, from China had also finished because there were queues to buy fish because in the lake itself, there was no fish,” Kabaghe explained.

He pointed out further that in terms of business, Capital Fisheries was doing “extremely well” even when other players, both local and “imported business of fish,” had come in.

“Obviously, when it comes to importation, the depreciation of the kwacha really affects us because we have to convert kwacha and import in dollars – it becomes expensive. But we do realise that we cannot immediately increase the price of fish because of the depreciation of the kwacha. We realise that fish protein is the best protein for our colleagues, especially those who are living [in] low income groups like in the compounds and so forth,” he said.

“There [in compounds] you see our containers which are highly refrigerated [with] very good fish but we have maintained the price at a level that they can afford. But business is cyclical and if we drew the line, we are okay as an institution.”

He indicated that Capital Fisheries encourages a lot of production of fish locally.

“We make much more money by selling local fish than importing fish because when you import, there are so many restrictions…. We are basically a trading company; we buy fish, clean it up, we package it and we sell. So, if many people under aquaculture, small, medium and large, were involved in fish production within the country, we will be very happy,” Kabaghe said.

On the award from Alliance for Keep Zambia Clean, Kabaghe asserted that Capital Fisheries would lead the way on issues of sanitation.

“Without cleanliness, this country cannot be health. Our company, Capital Fisheries, which is a key company in the Zambian economy, as far as the value chain of fish is concerned, thought it was critical to partner with you and make sure that the pronouncement made by the President is practically implemented. I would like to assure your team and the nation that our work as Capital Fisheries is clean business. We will definitely get all the fish that is produced within the country,” underscored Kabaghe.

“Our cleanliness is as you go; everyday and every minute. We make sure that our surrounding are kept sparkling clean. I can only assure everybody in the country that Capital Fisheries will lead the way – I have got no doubt.”

Alliance for Keep Zambia Clean, Green and Health president Christopher Chipandwa Manda hailed Capital Fisheries for maintaining high hygienic standards.

Manda later led journalists to SR Distillers Zambia Limited, another company that was honoured with a trophy for operating in a highly clean environment.