GOVERNMENT has loaned Inyambo Community Development Trust K3.3 million to boost fish production at the Mwandi Integrated Fish Farm project in Western Province.
The cheque was sourced from the Loans and Investments Division of the Ministry of Finance and it would be repayable in 15 years’ time with a grace period of two years.
Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda and Induna Amukuteile of Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta of Mwandi District in Western Province signed the loan agreement of K3, 341, 007.00 on Monday.
Mr Chikwanda said the project was part of the transformative agenda supported by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government as Zambians needed fish for their proteins.
He said the world population by 2050 would be more than 10 billion people and they would need to eat cereals, proteins, beans, fish and dairy products.
“Fish is an important protein for the world community.
At the moment, there is a big scandal which we have allowed. Zambia is importing maybe up to about 50, 000 tonnes of fish from polluted waters of China and Thailand.
They have so many people there and their water is severely polluted and we are eating fish from waters which are not as clean as ours and we are losing a lot of foreign exchange and no wonder this country runs out of foreign exchange and the Kwacha begins to drop very fast in relation to the dollar because even the things we can produce locally like fish we are importing. We should be exporting fish to Thailand and China so this is very important,” Mr Chikwanda said.
He noted that Zambia had attacked poverty from very lost platforms and long speeches instead of using better methods.
“Poverty does not respond to slogans and this is a practical way.
We are here as part of the development agenda of the PF.
“Inyambo Community Development Trust is a very good initiative. In Zambia and elsewhere in the world, development is hampered by delivery vehicles for ideas,” he said.
Mr Chikwanda urged the people of Mwandi to embrace the project and later flood Western Province and other parts of Zambia with fingerlings.
“Let us grow the fish and that way we will be widening the franchise of unity of Zambia. Fish grows very fast. We are being very selfish and eating fish which is supposed to grow fish on a large scale. We must think of the future generations,” he said.
Mr Chikwanda said PF was promoting development whether people voted for it or not.
And Induna Amukuteile said the Mwandi Integrated Fish Farm was created with the objectives of reducing fishing pressure and restocking water channels on the Zambezi River.
He said the farm was also set up to provide an alternative source of protein to the diet of local people in the face of ever dwindling fish stocks in Zambezi River.
“After the creation of the Farm, Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta approached the Ministry of Finance to request the Government to support the Farm. I want to pay tribute to Mr Chikwanda for recognising Mwandi Integrated Fish Farm in playing a pivotal role of alleviating poverty in our chiefdom and in contributing to the economy of the country,” he said.
Induna Amukuteile said the loan facility would be utilised to meet the objectives of the Farm and other projects.