Fish production in Zimbabwe is set to grow after the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved a loan of USD 8 million to help fund a tilapia farming and processing project on Lake Kariba, located on the country’s border with Zambia.
Total funding for the Lake Harvest Aquaculture project is USD 42 million, with the balance provided by a group of other donors. The AfDB loan was approved by its Board of Directors on 26 October 2011, and represents the Bank’s first selective re-engagement operation in Zimbabwe.
Tilapia is one of Africa’s most important sources of freshwater fish, An AfDB agricultural expert has assessed the Lake Harvest operation as likely to be “the largest integrated tilapia farm in Sub-Saharan Africa and the best run aquaculture operation in Africa”.
The Board of Directors was informed that this AfDB private sector loan will help Lake Harvest to increase annual tilapia production from the current figure of 2,500 tons to about 20,000 tons by 2015.
The project will also help boost Zimbabwe’s exports to the rest of Africa and to Europe.
Designed to follow environmental and social best practices, the project will also adhere to strict European production standards. With Europe absorbing 13 percent of the output and with some 50 percent exported to southern Africa, the project brings several strategic and cost-competitive outcomes: economic growth, regional integration, international trade and better food security in Zimbabwe and neighboring countries.
Following the Board approval, Tim Turner, the AfDB’s private sector director said “The Lake Harvest operation is excellent and considered by many experts as a role model for sustainable fish farming on the continent. Lake Harvest is expected to generate more than 900 new high-quality permanent jobs by 2015 and will contribute to an estimated USD 33 million at present value terms in government revenues over the next ten years.”
Source – African Dev Bank (AfDB) Press Release, October 26, 2011