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LHA expects to produce 20,000 tonnes of tilapia annually by 2015. (Photo: Lake Harvest Aquaculture/FIS)

Tilapia farming venture gets financial boost

ZIMBABWE
Friday, November 11, 2011, 03:40 (GMT + 9)

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a loan of USD 8 million to fund the Lake Harvest Aquaculture project on Lake Kariba. This will help expand tilapia fish farming and supply affordable protein to the sub-region.

Development finance institutions are together providing a total of USD 20 million in loans towards the project.

The AfDB’s USD 8 million loan is the bank’s first private sector investment in the country as part of its efforts to selectively re-engage there.

An AfDB agricultural expert has judged LHA operation’s to be “the largest integrated tilapia farm in Sub-Saharan Africa and the best-run agriculture operation in Africa,” RadioVop reports.

Along with the other development finance institutions, the AfDB will make sure the project continues to abide by international good practices on environmental and social management. Lake Harvest Aquaculture complies with strict European production standards and is Africa’s only aquaculture operation certified by GlobalGap.

Tilapia production. (Photo: Lake Harvest Aquaculture)

“We are delighted that the AfDB has made this substantial commitment to finance the continued growth of Lake Harvest Aquaculture, already the largest aquaculture business in Africa,” said Henry Pitman, chief executive of African Century Foods. “The development of LHA is part of African Century Foods’ strategy to develop a large scale pan African white protein business, and we look forward to working with the AfDB and other DFIs in pursuing this objective.”

Once expanded and running at full capacity, LHA will produce 20,000 tonnes of fish per year by 2015 with a broad offering of fresh and frozen products.

Tilapia output is currently 2,500 tonnes.

The company is primarily targeting African markets, and Zimbabwe is expected to take up 37 per cent of production. Another 50 per cent will go to markets in the southern African region, while Europe is expected to absorb the remaining 13 per cent of exports.

The project’s benefits include more than 900 new jobs, economic growth and diversification. It will also add to government revenues, regional trade and integration, foreign exchange generation and enhanced food security in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries.

“Lake Harvest Aquaculture is considered by many experts as a role model for sustainable fish farming on the continent” said Tim Turner, director of the AfDB’s Private Sector and Microfinance Department. “Lake Harvest is expected to […] contribute to an estimated USD 33 million at present value terms in government revenues over the next 10 years.”

By Natalia Real
[email protected]
www.fis.com


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