By Nali Dominic
Some people have described aquaculture as difficult, some believe that acquiring ideas about aquaculture or fish farming in whatever form would produce remarkable benefits to those that believe in it. The success story of Collins Chongo, a police officer in Mansa district is one of the shining examples of people who believe in innovations that can transform and improve lives. Mr. Chongo is one of the officers who has heeded to government repeated calls for civil servants to take part in farming by establishing Eunimos Investment Limited in Mansa district. Mr. Chongo and his wife established Eunimos Investment Limited 27 kilomitre from Mansa town centre in 2019 through salary based loans with the initial interest in the production of maize. “We previously grew maize but then we realized the input costs for maize production were too much compared to the profit realized out of it in a farming season”. “For example, I invested K10, 000.00 into maize production and realized a profit of just K2, 000.00 and that is what discouraged me to continue into maize production”, said Collins Chongo. He said after his participation in the 2017 Luapula Expo, he and his wife decided to take up aquaculture and primary packaging of rice, cassava flour, soy bean meal and millet meal among others. “As Eunimos Investment Limited, we have taken up the steps into fish farming so that we can become the leaders in the aquaculture sector in the province and we have so far invested in fifteen fish ponds with six ponds stocked with 4000 fingerings each”, he said. And because of the need to supplement the fish deficit for the country, government has also put in place policies that provide public support and investment in the fisheries sector.
EUNIMOS INVESTMENT LIMA SCRPT 22ND AUGUST, 2020 BY DOMINIC CHANDIWILA. NALI 2 | P a g e These policies are meant to provide an environment that attracts private sector and small scale fish farmer’s interest in the fish value chain. Currently, the fisheries sector is receiving much attention from policy makers and stakeholders. This is with the view to promote public and private partnerships, and provide effective aquaculture services that ensures sustainability in the sector. Provincial Fisheries Officer Masiliso Phiri said the capture fishery in Luapula province is slowly depleting hence the need to promote fish farming among the communities in the province. Ms. Masiliso said her Ministry has resolved to reduce overdependence on the water bodies in the province through the promotion of aquaculture among the farmers. She said the promotion of fish farming or aquaculture is not only meant to help reduce the pressure exerted on the natural water bodies but also to encourage farmers like Mr. Chongo and wife in the province to take aquaculture as a business. “Our objective of promoting aquaculture in Luapula province is to train more fish farmers so that they can as well pass-on the skills to others along the aquaculture value chain in the province”, said Masiliso Phiri. The Provincial Fisheries Officer said that the core purpose of promoting fish farming among the farmers is also to help provide a platform for them to have increased income, food and nutrition security. She said through fish farming, farmers would be able to contribute to their social welfare and the provincial economy and that of the country. “Fish farming is very beneficial and people should not fear that it is difficult because any business is difficult even if one was to do chickens, goats or cattle,
EUNIMOS INVESTMENT LIMA SCRPT 22ND AUGUST, 2020 BY DOMINIC CHANDIWILA. NALI 3 | P a g e it is all about commitment and attitude, so anything that you put your mind to is difficult”, said Ms. Masiliso Phiri. Under the Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project (ZAEDEP), government is set to disburse funds to promote fish farming or aquaculture among the farmers in the country. The Citizen’s Economic Empowerment Commission’s Director General Likando Mukumbuta disclosed that the funds are meant to help resolve the fingerling problem that the fisheries sector has been grappling with for a long time in the country. Mr. Mukumbuta said the fingerling problem will be achieved through the disbursement of loans to farmers for the establishment of fish hatcheries in the targeted districts across the country. He said Under the Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project (ZAEDEP); government through the Citizen’s Economic Empowerment Commission will be disbursing to fish farmers about K275m in loans country wide. “Here in Luapula province, we are going to disburse K22.5m to target districts and one of the first thing that we have done is to advertise for business loans for our citizens to set up fish hatcheries so that we can solve the problems of fingerlings and then begin to support everyone else”, said Mr. Likando Mukumbuta. The Director General said the CEEC believe that empowering citizens is the best way to increase and improve fish production and productivity in the country. “From the public perspective, we are very proud of this empowerment program because in the true spirit of empowerment, we must take development where people are’, said the CEEC Director General.
EUNIMOS INVESTMENT LIMA SCRPT 22ND AUGUST, 2020 BY DOMINIC CHANDIWILA. NALI 4 | P a g e Government is also focusing its efforts on diversification among the farmers as a sustainable way of bringing about social and economic development in the country. With the inflow of aquaculture projects such as the Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project (ZAEDEP), government is set to help local investors like Eunimos Investment Limited to access funds and the market. Luapula Province Minister Nickson Chilangwa disclosed that economic benefits are not the only motivation for the support from government; the goal is to create an atmosphere for public and private investments like Eunimos Investment Limited to become the biggest fish producing company in the province. “I want to promise you Eunimos Investment Limited a number of things because if we don’t help and support you, others will get discouraged to invest in the province”, the Provincial Minister said. He said working through the Ministry of Fisheries and the provincial planning office, his government is ready to support local investments to access funds meant for the development of their enterprise and production. “I promise you Eunimos Investment Limited that we will help you get the money from the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) which is being advertised”, said Honourable Nickson Chilangwa. He disclosed that Eunimos Investment Limited and other local investors will also be linked with the Economic Association of Zambia (EAZ) so that programs to be launched in the province are anchored on what is already happening at Eunimos. “The financing the Economic Association of Zambia (EAZ) is bringing must also benefit Eunimos Investment Limited and other local investor”. “I am also taking your products to Shoprite and I just want you to know that Shoprite will need EUNIMOS INVESTMENT LIMA SCRPT 22ND AUGUST, 2020 BY DOMINIC CHANDIWILA. NALI 5 | P a g e your company to be consistence in supplying them with your products”, said the Provincial Minister. It is a well-known factor that building a strong private aquaculture sector will create demand and sustenance in the supply of fish and primary packaging of value added products on the market. For the Luapula Chamber of Commerce and Industry, it is therefore very clear from the on-set that Eunimos Investment Company Limited is capable of bringing change because of the company’s willingness to adopt innovations that they previously had no access to. And because of the need to support local investors, the Luapula Chambers of Commerce and Industry, has announced a funding program meant to support investments like Eunimos in the province. The Luapula Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Emmanuel Munsanje said his organization has established a concept called “friends of Luapula” which is embedded into their five year strategic plan. He said that the concept will lead to the establishment a board of director to oversee the development in the province by dedicating the efforts to empowering of local entrepreneurs or investments like Eunimos. “The friends of Luapula Board of directors will ensure funds are mobilized from our cooperating partners in the province”, said Mr. Munsanje. He also disclosed that the Luapula Chamber of Commerce and Industry will ensure that every entrepreneur or investment has a professional meteor to track progress in every investment. He said the funds will be dedicated to all local entrepreneurs and will be accessed at a very minimal cost adding that if someone was into aquaculture, horticulture or livestock, there should be an expert to oversee progress in that respect.
EUNIMOS INVESTMENT LIMA SCRPT 22ND AUGUST, 2020 BY DOMINIC CHANDIWILA. NALI 6 | P a g e For Chief Kalasa Lukangaba, the investment by Mr. and Mrs. Chongo who are the owners of Eunimos Investment Limited could not have come at the right time. The chief said it is gratifying that within the shortest period of time his chiefdom has changed and the investment will make people’s lives much easier as community members around will be employed to earn a living. “We will no longer travel long distances into Mansa town looking for fish, broiler chickens, rice, millet meal, soya bean meal and cassava meal because everything has been brought to our door step by Eunimos”, said Chief Kalasa Lukangaba. The chief urged other civil servants and the locals to emulate Mr. Collins Chongo and his wife and come through for the land for investments. It is evidently clear that supporting an investment like Eunimos by government and other stakeholders would be a milestone as it will create employment among the locals and contribute to the domestic gross product of the country.
By Nali Dominic