The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock has with immediate effect lifted the ban on the exports of fish feed.
Fisheries and Livestock Minister Nkandu Luo said companies engaged in the production of fish feed in the country are now free to export the commodity outside the country.
Professor Luo said the lifting of the ban on fish feed has been necessitated following the resolution of contentious issues surrounding fish feed production through engagement with feed producers.
She said one of the contentious issues discussed with all companies involved in feed production was to ascertain whether the country has capacity to produce enough fish feed to satisfy the local demand for fish feed and surplus for export.
‘We want to bridge the gap between the quantity of quality of feed produced by the feed industry and the local demand, Luo said.
The minister said the country currently faces a deficit of 87,000 metric tons of fish annually and the President wants to stop the imports of fish by building local capacity to produce quality feed, fingerlings and provide finance through the fish value chain.
‘His Excellency the President Edgar Chagwa Lungu wants Zambia to be self-sustaining and as a government we are not looking externally but internally to be self-sufficient’ she noted.
Professor Luo said the other contentious issue resolved concerning the production of fish feed was the pricing of the feed.
She observed that prices of fish feed had doubled which was not sustainable for most fish farmers.
‘Most of the major ingredients such as maize and soyabeans are locally produced and available in the country, the issue of the exchange rate does not hold water, I do not understand why the price of fish feed should be expensive’, she wondered.
Professor Luo said with the expected good harvest this year, the ingredients will be readily available and there will be a reduction of the fish feed very soon.
‘We have resolved with the feed companies that while they increase the quantity of fish feed, they should offload it on the market at affordable prices were both the producer and the fish farmers are happy.
The minister has however maintained that the ban of the export of other stockfeed such as maize bran still stands.
She says her ministry will soon engage with the millers and producers and discuss the lifting of the suspension on exports of stockfeed.
Government earlier this year issued a ban on the export of stockfeed on the 15th of March 2020.
Meanwhile Professor Luo has warned one of the fish feed companies in the country to desist from issuing derogatory remarks on social media against government of the issues of fish feed.
Professor Luo said anybody doing business in Zambia must respect the government and she will therefore not tolerate any arrogance with impunity.
‘I am aware of the economic activities and employment opportunities that these companies bring into the country, but if they continue disrespecting the government, we will not take it with kid gloves and may revoke their license, Luo warned.
She encouraged businesses to take advantage of the open door policy to discuss any ‘contentious’ issues rather than issuing derogatory remarks through the media.