A NEW ministry should be created to specifically be dealing with the fisheries industry whose potential has not been tapped the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture has recommended.
President Edgar Lungu has so far created 20 ministries. Presenting the report on Agriculture on Friday, Committee chairman, Villie Lombanya said the fisheries industry had vast potential to contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Mr Lombanya who is United Party for National Development (UPND) Solwezi East Member of Parliament said agriculture budgets have always been tilted towards the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) and the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) thereby disregarding industries such as fisheries.
“Agriculture has vast potential to contribute to Gross Domestic Product if all sectors were explored. We can even close the mines. Agriculture budgets have been tilted towards FISP and FRA disregarding industries such as fisheries,” he said.
Mr Lombanya said if a specific ministry was created to deal with fisheries, the industry could help the country’s economy because it had the potential to be a source of export to other regions.
He said there was need for Government to put practical intervention on agriculture diversification.
Mr Lombanya said fisheries had proved to be the fastest growing industry which only required stringent measures to protect the fish.
“We seem to have challenges when it comes to regulation such as the imposition of fish bans. Some areas have little or no means of livelihood hence contribute to the depletion of fish from water bodies near them,” he said
Meanwhile Deputy Minister in the office of the Vice President Steven Kampyongo told Parliament on Friday that government had put in place measures to ensure that no Zambian starved in light of the poor rains recorded in the 2014/2015 rainy season.
He was responding to concerns raised by Liuwa member of Parliament (MMD) Situmbeko Musokotwane who said that as a result of poor rains people from his constituency would resort to poaching in the plains.
“I want to assure the honorable member from Liuwa that no one is going to starve in his constituency.
As we speak now the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit is on the ground in all the eight districts in Western Province that were affected as a result of rains,” Mr Kampyongo said.