Fisheries and Livestock Minister Kampamba Mulenga says continued imports of cheap animal products will stifle domestic production growth and contribute to the vulnerability of the national economy if the country does not invest in local production and processing.
Mulenga said the Ministry has observed that imports of cheap fish and processed meat has sky rocketed in the recent past and there is urgent need for that country to invest in processing for domestic consumption and exportation of finished products.
According to surveillance reports by the department of veterinary services, University of Zambia and the World Fish, there is no evidence of Tilapia Lake Virus in Zambia but the country is at high risk due to fish imports.
She said the policy of the government with regard to fisheries and livestock is to make Zambia self-sufficient and a net exporter of meat by 2015.
Stakeholders in the Fishing industry have expressed concern that the government has imposed on the importation of fish due to the outbreak of Tilapia Lake Harvest in some countries will result into a lot of revenue loss for Zambia.
And Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institutes Executive Director, Chance Kabaghe says most fisheries companies rely on importation of fish to cushion the 87,000 metric tonnes per year deficit the country.
Kabaghe observed that any suspension of imports will increase the price of fish and promote smuggling.