Consultations with strategic state departments and various stakeholders have already began in earnest as it becomes more and more apparent that the sector can no longer continue to survive in the shadows of other livestock sectors.
There has emerged a more urgent need than ever before to have a national Fisheries and Aquaculture Strategy and Action Plan if the country is to meaningfully harness the potential that is within this “blue revolution”.
With over 3 910 square kilometers of freshwater surface area, 9 major river basins, conducive production bio-technical factors, the time is just nigh for the fish industry to start contributing meaningfully to the GDP figures, employment creation, poverty reduction and improving people’s nutrition and dietary diversity options.
Currently Zimbabweans are estimated to be consuming slightly below 5kg of fish and fish products per person per year compared to most SADC countries whose per capita fish consumption is said to be averaging more than 8kg per person per year.
These low consumption figures have been attributed to the perennial lack of fish and fish products on the common market despite Zimbabweans’ undying appetite for food fish. This has always zeroed down to lack of prioritization of the sector on the state’s part as evidenced by the total eclipse of fish by other agro-crops from agrobudgets to extension to training and so forth.
It is against this background that the FAWG is taking the first steps in ensuring that policy makers, industry players and the rest of the stakeholders are brought to one table to initiate the great strides towards a sustainable and successful participation in the “blue revolution” currently sweeping across the world. The Action Plan and Strategy if successfully mapped and implemented is set to change Zimbabwe’s entire agro-landscape for the better.