New project will develop aquaculture knowledge and practical skills of students and fish farmers in Zambia

WorldFish and its partners have launched a major new project in Zambia. The Aquaculture Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training for Improved Private Sector and Smallholder Skills project aims to increase the human resources in the private sector and the number of smallholder commercial fish farmers with enhanced aquaculture knowledge and up-to-date practical skills.

Zambia has a high rate of unemployment. There are noticeable disparities between men and women in the labor force, especially a lack of women formally working in the fisheries sector who have received fisheries skills training. In addition, the current technical education, vocational and entrepreneurship training (TEVET) system faces challenges, including developing skills that are relevant to the employment market, particularly the private sector. 

Moreover, there are poor linkages between the private sector and smallholder fish farmers, affecting their ability to organize for improved input supply, aggregation and sale of their outputs as well as their greater participation in other aquaculture value chain activities.

Monitoring of fish growth in smallholder ponds in Mbala District, Northern Province, Zambia. Photo by Steven Cole

Enhancing technical education

The new USD 2.5 million, 3.5-year project is funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation. It will be implemented by WorldFish through FISH, in partnership with the Natural Resources Development College (NRDC), Musika and BluePlanet. It will be carried out in the Zambian capital Lusaka and the Northern and Luapula provinces. 

The project has two components:

  • upgrading the fisheries science curriculum (long- and short-term courses) and training tools, and developing an online training platform and internship program at NRDC with links to other TEVET institutions to scale the upgraded training ‘package’ over the course of the project;
  • enhancing the technical education, vocational and entrepreneurship skills of rural women, men and youth smallholder commercial fish farmers and increasing their linkages to input/output markets and entrepreneurship opportunities via private sector extension support and services delivery.

The project will also contribute to the goals of several government and global initiatives. Among them are the Zambia 7th National Development Plan, the Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project and the UNESCO Strategy for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (2016–2021).

Launch of the AQ TEVET project in Zambia. Photo by Gift Chanda

Private sector commitment

The project was launched on 9 November 2018 at NRDC. The launch was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, University of Zambia, Copperbelt University and the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ).

Cecilia Kamanga, Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, noted the importance of the fisheries sector to Zambia’s economic development, income generation and contribution to food and nutrition security. 

“I have no doubts that the project being been launched today will complement the vision of the Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project, which was launched by President Edgar Chagwa Lungu in October 2017 and aims at promoting fish production through aquaculture,” she said.

“Aquaculture knowledge and updated practical skills will help to sustainably grow the sector,” added Dr. Sloans Chimatiro, Country Director Zambia and Tanzania, WorldFish. “Our efforts will focus on youth and women, positively impacting their meaningful integration into the aquaculture value chain once they graduate from NRDC and other institutions to which the upgraded curriculum will be scaled.”

The presence of a number of private companies at the launch, including Yalelo, Skretting, Novatek and Great Lake Products, underlined the commitment of the private sector to supporting the project and to the equitable growth of aquaculture more broadly.