The aqua-park strategy is expected to boost fish farming in Kasempa district of North Western Province.
District Fisheries Officer (DFO) Jacob Chilembo said upon completion, the aqua-park will have a number of infrastructure such as four housing units for the staff, a hatchery, storage facility and many more.
Mr. Chilembo disclosed that due to its richness in infrastructure development, the aqua-park strategy will boost market linkages.
He said the Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project (ZAEDP) implementation arrangements will use out-grower schemes which are expected to nurture a domestic subsector that will serve as a viable and inclusive business opportunity.
“Through enhanced production and productivity and through assured markets along the aquaculture value chain, the livelihood of the men and women beneficiaries will be improved,” Mr. Chilembo said.
He said the project is developing aquaculture parks for easy access to inputs, fingerlings, market access and extension provision to aquaculture producers and that ZAEDP will facilitate the development of aqua-parks where the services such as fingerling, fish feed and training to fish farmers that will be organized in the cluster.
Mr. Chilembo noted that the ZAEDP in partnership with Citizen Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) will facilitate for farmers to access loans to start up their fish production enterprises and will sign supply contracts with the cold storage facilities which will be managed by the private sector.
And speaking during the tour of developmental projects Kasempa area Member of Parliament Brenda Tambatamba appreciated the aqua-park strategy adding that once fully operational, it will increase production levels in the district.
Ms. Tambatamba further told the DFO to furnish her office with information adding that she just used to hear of the aqua-park but had no understanding of it.
Meanwhile Kasempa district has recorded an increase in the rate of infestation of fall army worms (FAW).
District Agricultural Coordinator (DACO) Joseph Masuwa disclosed that 14 out of 24 agriculture camps have reported incidences of FAW infestation.
He said about 344 hectares have been affected and that 71.1 hectares is the estimated crop damage.
Mr. Masuwa said the district received 118 litres of pesticides which has so far been used and that his office has requested for more chemicals amounting to 500 litres.
He has called on farmers to use cultural methods in an effort to control the pest for the time being as they wait for government to send pesticides.
And North Western Provincial Agricultural Coordinator (PACO) Derrick Simukanze has confirmed that government has already procured pesticides meant for the purpose of fighting the FAW.
Mr. Simukanze said his office is monitoring the infestation and that reports are being generated weekly and has since called on the extension staff in the province to up the game and reach out to farmers.
He has also urged farmers to buy chemicals where they can and use the pesticides correctly.