Epalela Fish farm hosted a fish harvest for the public on Thursday, 24 August 2017. The event was attended by droves of community members and other distinguished guests who wanted to buy fresh fish. The event was organised by staff of the Directorate of Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries (DoAIF) from Onavivi and Ongwediva Inland Aquaculture Centers. More than 7 ton fish was harvested (7, 430 ton tilapia and 75kg catfish), processed and sold to the public.
|Master of Ceremony, Dr. Moses Maurihungirire, Permanent secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources|
Proceedings were led by Dr. Moses Marihungirire, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources as Director of Ceremonies. Honourable Dr. Chief Ankama delivered the main address. In his address Hon. Ankama passionately talked about the current state of aquaculture. He brought several of the local fish farmers to the front to showcase them as an example of successful fish farmers and encouraged further steps to uplift the production potential of aquaculture by local farmers. He also encouraged integrated production with crops and livestock to further improve profitability of such ventures.
|Hon. Chief Ankama, Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources with some of the fish farmers in the north|
Mr. Renier Burger, Deputy Director of the Directorate of Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries during the Vote of Thanks explained that the focus of our fish farms has moved from merely producing fish to becoming research demonstration facilities, whereby the focus is on research to improve the economic viability of aquaculture. In this case production is merely a function of research with the purpose to achieve the lowest possible production cost with highest possible yield. This research oriented approach resulted in Epalela fish farm achieving an internationally recognized Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) of 1.57:1 (1.57 to 1) during 2013/14 from previous FCR’s of way over 2.5:1 (2.5:1). This means that only 1.57kg of fish feed is needed to produce 1kg of fish as opposed to more than 2.5kg of fish feed to produce the same amount of fish and represent a massive decrease in production cost. Fish feed constitutes about 70% of the production cost of fish with a gravity flow system as we have at Epalela. The current feed price (2017) from Zambia is N$9/kg FOB Livingstone. With transport the feed is landed at Onavivi at a total cost of N$10,46/kg (N$1,46/kg). Thus the production cost of the fish harvested during this event could be as low as N$23, 46/kg (FCR 1.57:1) He further stated that the depletion of the inland fishery resource (Zambezi, Kavango Rivers) resulted in a shortages of popular bream species at the open fish markets resulting in an increase in the price of these species to over N$50/kg. There is therefore huge scope for commercial investment in freshwater aquaculture as we are now in a situation whereby there will be sufficient return on investment for the industry to proliferate at a selling price of N$50 and above. There is also much potential for the development of a niche market for local tilapia, which is one of the tastiest fishes around.
Mr. Oliver Numbwa from Onavivi IAC then guided the proceedings of the harvest, processing and a lunch served with fresh fish amongs others
|Fish being harvested with Dr. Moses maurihungirire looking on|
|Hon. Dr. Chief Ankama visiting the processing facility|
|Albertina from Ongwediva IAC assisting with Lunch|