The Importance of Aquaculture in Zambia


Small-scale fisheries and aquaculture have come to employ over 41 million people all over the world, with the majority of those people in developing countries. Many people and their communities have benefitted from joining the growing industry, especially as capture fisheries increasingly reach their capacity. For maize-dependent, malnourished communities in rural Zambia, a lack of diversified income and adequate sources of nutrition has created a vicious cycle of poverty and malnutrition. Zambia produces the largest amount of fish produce in sub-Saharan Africa, but the reach of fish production has yet to take root in many rural communities. People do not yet have the money or awareness to pursue alternate sources of income and nourishment, but there is massive potential for small-scale fisheries in rural Zambia, and the benefits a family-owned fish farm reach beyond the household to the surrounding community.

Fish are a healthy source of protein and nutrition. It is a great addition to starch-based diets, which is one of the problems facing rural Zambians. As a result of the corn monocrop, people consume maize without many other sources of nutrition in their diet. Consuming fish provides amino acids that improve the protein found in vegetables, and fatty acids, which are essential for brain and body development. This makes fish invaluable for babies, children, and pregnant and lactating women. The consumption of fish is also beneficial for people with HIV, as proper nutrition supports the effectiveness of anti-retroviral drugs. The rural poor who farm fish for subsistence tend to consume more small, low-value fish, which provide more minerals when consumed in their entirety than the same quantity of meat or large fish.

Fish has become the source of over half of people’s protein consumption in countries like Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Ghana. Many rural Zambians rely on unstable sources of food which contribute to seasonal hunger and poverty. Family-owned pond cultures have become a sustainable method to produce fish throughout the year so that families will not be as affected by a bad crop. It is also a more efficient use of land and resources than raising cattle or pork. Land that is used to grow fish produces ten times more consumable product than the amount of cattle or pork that would be produced by the same area of land; and fish farming requires less input than raising cattle or pork.

Though small-scale aquaculture systems have been adopted by household producers, aquaculture is generally not included as part of national development plans. There is not enough data on the productivity of small-scale fisheries to monitor their progress or prove their impact. However, aquaculture has clearly increased employment rapidly, especially in Asia, where the industry has grown the most. Aquaculture is particularly beneficial for women, employing millions of women in developing countries, promoting gender equality and giving women greater control over the livelihood of their household.

Aquaculture has transformed communities in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and the Philippines. The World Fish Centre has chosen to focus its efforts in Africa in Zambia because of the clear potential for aquaculture there. The Zambian government recognizes the need for diversified sources of income and nutrition, which will hopefully lead to good regulation and support for aquaculture in Zambia’s future.

Fish farming in rural Zambia will address many of the Sustainable Development Goals such as improved food security, reduced child mortality, improved maternal health, and the combating of HIV/AIDS and other diseases. It will also improve overall nutrition and promote gender equality by providing greater employment opportunities for women. Aquaculture has great potential for future growth in Zambia and Humanity Africa will be right there to support its development.


  1. david Mbewe

    13th July 2017 - 9:06 pm

    Am a Zambian farmer, I wish to start fish farming business in my native town of MAZABUKA. Kindly help with some technical knowledge and the type of equipment I need to start my business. I have acquired a 50 hecter peace of land and I wish to do fish farming. Send any information that will be of value to me. My email addresses are. thankyou

    • Bobby

      13th July 2017 - 10:05 pm

      Dear David,
      One of our team members will be in touch regarding your comment. Very best wishes, Humanity Africa Team.

    • Bobby

      13th July 2017 - 10:08 pm

      Dear David,
      Thanks for contacting us. Your details have been forwarded to the relevant department and someone will get in touch with you soon. Regards. Admin

  2. Mr Fish

    17th September 2017 - 5:09 pm

    Is there any funding opportunity for fish farmers in Nigeria? Are there platforms where African fish farmers can meet and interact? Thanks.

  3. Deborah

    19th September 2017 - 3:07 am

    Is there any fish farming training school in Zambia?

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    24th March 2018 - 11:23 pm

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  11. Lukundo

    3rd February 2020 - 1:44 pm

    Hello ,
    In line with interests towards the aquaculture sector of agriculture,how employable is this sector or course in Zambia?
    Email me if you can at

  12. Kelvin Mwila Mpoko

    17th July 2020 - 2:38 pm

    Hi, I am a Zambian with the desire to venture into fish farming in Mpika District.

    I hereby request for any technical and or any help incidental to aquaculture.

  13. Kelvin Mwila Mpoko

    17th July 2020 - 2:39 pm

    Hi, I am a Zambian with the desire to venture into fish farming in Mpika District.

    I hereby request for any technical and or any help incidental to aquaculture.


  14. Mary Khondowe

    7th August 2020 - 2:03 am

    Am Mary I wish to start a 20 by 30 fish pond, please kindly tell me what is required and how to start. How they should be feed and kept.

  15. Ezra Kalota

    24th January 2021 - 6:07 pm

    Have done sustainable Agriculture and I want to be of help to your organisation as a voluntary officer in promoting aquaculture as a viable business.

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