ZAMBIA -Zambian government, through the Lake Tanganyika Development Project, has launched the inaugural fish cage farming by small-scale fish farmers on Lake Tanganyika.

According to Zambia Nothern Province Permanent Secretary, Benard Mpundu, the successful implementation of the project has eliminated the notion that fish farming on the lake can only be done with huge capital investment.

“The local communities in this village and other villages conducting fish farming on Lake Tanganyika demystified the belief that fish farming can only be conducted by wealthy business people. I would like to congratulate you on the success,” he said.

Mr Mpundu also added that the government has also put in place measures to improve access to investment funds through the enhanced Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission.

“I, therefore, encourage cooperatives, business entities and individuals to exploit the avenues and access funding to invest in fish farming,” he noted.

Fish harvesting  comes against a backdrop of a government ban on fishing in the lake. Mpundu however explained that the ban was not targeted at punishing the community but will in the long run help to increase fish stocks on the lake.

According to the government, the plan to suspend fishing activities in Lake Tanganyika for three months was meant to raise the fish population in Africa’s deepest lake and not otherwise.

The idea was to allow dwindling fish stocks to recover and not negatively impact the people living in riparian countries.

In addition, Lake Tanganyika Development Project Coordinator Dora Kamweneshe said the pilot project has provided lessons for people to take up fish cage farming on the lake and has enabled the community to gain skills on how to fabricate fish cages and install the cages on the lake.

“The successful implementation of the project will also help to improve income and nutrition for members,” she added.

She also commended the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock for capacity building and helping to implement the project on the lake.

Meanwhile, Chipwa Village Headman Isaac Sichilima has thanked the government and the Lake Tanganyika Development Project for supporting people in the area.

He said the project has supported the community with fish cages to help people to implement alternative livelihood projects.

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