ZIMBABWE – The Food Federation and Allied Workers Union of Zimbabwe (FFAWUZ) has revealed that Zimbabwe is facing an acute supply deficit of 41 600 tonnes of fish annually from local players, forcing the country to rely on imports to meet the demand for the delicacy.

Addressing delegates at the just-ended Seafood Workers Division Conference held in the Nordic Island nation of Iceland, FFAWUZ secretary general Runesu Dzimiri said the Southern African nation is beset with a huge market potential for fish.

“According to official statistics, Zimbabwe’s fish output averages 18,400 tonnes yearly against a total annual demand of 60,000 tonnes, thereby creating a total deficit of 41 600 tonnes which are partly met through imports,” Dzimiri said.

“In 2021 alone, the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade reported that Zimbabwe imported meat, fish, and seafood preparations to a tune of US$2.62 million.”

He added the biggest fish processing company in Zimbabwe is Lake Harvest, established in 1997 to produce high-quality tilapia for the European and Southern African markets.

Fillets from the factory are exported mainly to the European markets, while the whole bream and by-products are sold in Zimbabwe and regional markets. The unsold by-products, according to Dzimiri, are fed to crocodiles and made into fish sssss for animal feed.

According to Nature Food Journal, sustainable aquaculture production requires strategies that encourage increased productivity and open the markets for fish.

The report indicates that aquaculture production in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has grown by 11% annually on average, with a few countries growing at 12–23% per year.

“As a union, we call for investments into the sector because this has the potential to create more jobs in the sector, which is much healthier for our membership,” Dzimiri explained.

“There is also a need for partnerships with the Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector who are beginning to crop up in the fish industry.”

Kenya steps up fingerlings distribution to boost production

Meanwhile, based on strategies to sustain aquaculture growth and to boost their fisheries production in the Sub-Saharan regions, Kenyan fish farmers in Kisumu have received improved fingerlings breeds, and fish feeds valued at Sh3 million.

Speaking during the distribution of fingerlings at Ogal Beach, Kisumu West, Prof Nyong’o stressed that his administration has prioritized interventions towards the promotion of cage fish farming and land-based aquaculture in the area.

Apart from the fingerlings’ distribution, the County, in partnership with the national government, has also promoted the construction and rehabilitation of fishponds and enhanced capacity building in modern aquaculture as a measure to revitalize the sub-sector.

The aquaculture sector has tremendous potential to contribute to jobs, youth employment, and food security on the subcontinent.

The realization of this potential is within reach with stronger government leadership and collaboration among actors.

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