Small businesses fuel Zambia’s aquaculture sector
Northern Zambia’s growing small-scale aquaculture sector offers new opportunities to improve food and nutrition security and boost income. The full potential of rural smallholder farms can be realized through investment in key inputs and markets along aquatic food value chains. Building the capacity of small to medium-sized businesses that supply aquaculture operations is one proven way to transfer new technologies and knowledge to smallholder fish farmers.
Rural fish farmers are often unable to obtain the resources and extension services needed to boost their productivity and resilience. The most constraining factors are a lack of access to quality fish feed and fingerlings. Fish fingerlings are the immature fish needed to stock ponds to jumpstart fish production; quality fish feed is necessary to rear healthy stocks by providing adequate nourishment.
Large private corporations involved in the aquaculture sector, including fish feed and fish fingerling producers, are based in the cities Lusaka and Siavonga. The long distance from these urban areas to remote northern provinces, coupled with farmers’ low use of commercial feed, leads to a lack of interest in major corporate investment along smallholder value chains.