A new aquaculture input supply store has opened in Kasama in Zambia’s Northern Province, providing crucial products and services to support the country’s growing small-scale aquaculture industry.
The store, which is owned by WorldFish partner Horizon Aquaculture, is the company’s fourth outlet in Zambia and the only dedicated aquaculture store in the Northern Province that supplies directly to small- and medium-scale farmers and offers inputs alongside technical advice and training. Inputs include quality feed and equipment such as pH meters, dissolved oxygen meters and thermometers. Fingerlings and sein nets will also soon be available.
The store is an important step toward enhancing the linkages between the private sector and smallholder commercial fish farmers, which is one of the core aims of the Aquaculture Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training for Improved Private Sector and Smallholder Skills (AQ TEVET) project. These linkages will improve farmers’ ability to organize for better input supply and sale of their outputs as well as greater participation in other aquaculture value chain activities.
AQ TEVET is a 3.5-year, USD 2.5 million project funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation. It is being implemented by WorldFish through FISH in the capital Lusaka and the Northern and Luapula provinces, in partnership with the Natural Resources Development College, Musika and Blue Planet.
Powerhouse in aquaculture production
At the store’s opening, which was attended by project partners, government officials, farmers and other stakeholders, Charles Sipanje, Permanent Secretary of the Northern Province, said that the outlet marks a turning point for the aquaculture sector in the province. “It demonstrates that the private sector is beginning to realize the province’s potential to become a powerhouse in aquaculture production and to make investments to support commercial and smallholder farmers,” he said.
Alex Machiya, Horizon Aquaculture’s General Manager, added that the company recognizes the importance of aquaculture in national economic development and its role in food and nutrition security among the wider Zambia population.
“We are therefore committed to continue working with WorldFish and Musika, through the AQ TEVET project, to address the challenges behind the low production and productivity of the smallholder sector,” he said.
Machiya explained that, following consultation with WorldFish and Musika, Horizon Aquaculture decided to locate the store in the Northern Province because it has one of the highest numbers of smallholder farmers, coupled with significant potential to expand aquaculture thanks to the good soil and year-round water supply.
Royd Mwamba, a farmer from Mungwi District, said, “I would like to express my gratitude to Horizon and the supporting partners in considering us by opening this new outlet. We now have a reliable source of aquafeed, and we look forward to receiving technical training so we can move forward in our fish farming venture."
Zambia-specific management manual
Among other ongoing project initiatives, including a smallholder fish farmer population census in the Northern Province that will inform private sector investment decisions, AQ TEVET is working with Horizon Aquaculture, the Department of Fisheries and other partners to finalize a Zambia-specific better management practices manual for the smallholder sector. The manual, which includes good feeding practices, will support private actors in delivering effective training and extension services to build smallholder knowledge and skills.