Monday, February 09, 2015

Lake Ngami fishing industry a ' lawless Wild West'

The Senior Research Fellow for  Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis, reported that the Ngamiland fishing industry has become the lawless “Wild West” of Botswana and the government needs to act before the next fishing season begins at the end of this month. In 2010, the Tahal group presented a bold idea to the Botswana Ministry of Agriculture, that part of the 420 mcum of water that would be taken from the Zambezi as part of the country’s riparian rights would be used for an integrated agricultural project which would include maize, soy and canola industries in Pangematenga which would in turn be used to develop an industrial poultry export industry as well as an aquaculture industry that would export some 13 000 tonnes of fish per annum.

The fish that would have been exported would include tilapia and catfish but the very idea that Botswana, a landlocked semi-desert would become a major exporter of fish products was just a step too far. Successful public officials are described with many adjectives, but certainly bold is not one them. This idea of a Botswana fish export sector was simply beyond the pale for those in the Ministry of Agriculture and the idea was just too bold, too risky and was canned.

But now, without a litre of water being abstracted from the Zambezi and without even much investment, Botswana is silently becoming a significant exporter of unknown quantities of tilapia and catfish to water rich countries like Zambia and the democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).The interesting question is how and why.

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