WWW.WAS.ORG • WORLD AQUACULTURE • SEPTEMBER 2023 19 to viewing aquaculture as a business. This contributed to the stagnation of aquaculture for more than twenty years (1966 – 1986). Furthermore, the policies at the time did not help matters since they favored capture fisheries, as these activities involved more people. Fish supplies from the wild were deemed adequate for the population. The policy ignored the fact that fish farming could overcome the low supply of fish from natural water bodies as the human population grew. As population growth put pressure on wild stocks, the government established fingerling production centers across the country to try and stimulate fish farming. A total of nineteen fish farms were established in all ten Provinces. Government, working with development partners, supported the promotion of fish farming for food and nutrition security, especially in rural areas. Aquaculture parks are currently being established as a mechanism to stimulate investments in the sector. Realizing that the government was not good at business, a market model was adopted, thus bringing in the private sector in setting up aquaculture infrastructure. Market-driven commercial aquaculture development built on a foundation of aquaculture infrastructure developed through interventionist programs (investments by government in human and institutional capacity such as research stations and public fish hatcheries). The main rationale for this model is that the private sector can provide better services than the traditional public sector in response to the market. This model has seen the establishment of several fish hatcheries and fish feed production facilities across the country, with a number of fish farms being established through private sector participation. Successive governments have been contextual and exible in meeting the people’s demands, and appropriate and suitable policies have been made on the course. Zambia just launched the Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy, and its Implementation Plan (2022 - 2026) to guide its developmental trajectory. Over the years, the industry has grown due to both strong public and private participation, utilizing both land-based (earthen ponds) and water-based (cages) production, from subsistence farming to intensive aquaculture systems. It is also common now to find backyard aquaculture facilities such as fish ponds and fish tanks. The support infrastructure of fish feed suppliers has also grown, making Zambia a hub for fish feed production in the region. Zambia is now a net exporter of fish feeds. Currently, Zambia has become the sixth highest producer of farmed fish in Africa behind only Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. The value chain approach to aquaculture production looks promising for the future, as all nodes within the chain should grow in tandem. The country is also the largest producer of tilapia in Southern Africa, increasing from as low as 750 tons annually in 1986 to 75,500 tons in 2022. This growth is supported on the basis that wild capture fisheries are failing to meet the food needs of the people. Fish is so important in the diets of Zambians; it is estimated that 53% of the animal protein consumed comes from fish. Despite this positive trajectory, the domestic fish requirement is expected to exceed 300,000 tons by the year 2025 based on World Health Organization fish consumption recommendations. In spite of the domestic demand, aquacultural products are being exported (CONTINUED ON PAGE 20) Typical earthen ponds used to produce various species in Zambia and the surrounding region. Commercial feeds are available for various species and life stages, and Zambia is now a net exporter of fish feeds. Market-driven growth of the commercial hatchery sector continues to fuel industry expansion.