THE Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock is discussing with the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) to develop a format for inspecting imported fish.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Maxus Ngonga said currently that ZABS does not have a system for inspecting imported fish.
Mr Ngonga was responding to Mpongwe Member of Parliament Gabriel Namulambe who wanted to find out why Government allows importation of fish and who the major fish importers are. The MP also wanted to know whether ZABS inspects imported fish, and if so, how findings are disseminated to the public.
“Currently, ZABS does not inspect imported fish but, in the meantime, there is collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock through the Department of Fisheries. They are developing fish and fish product standards for both dried and fresh fish…to ensure we are importing wholesome fish,” he said.
He said an importer is obliged to apply for import permit from the Ministry Agriculture and Livestock from which specific issues such as origin of the fish are considered before the permit is issued.
Mr Ngonga said Zambia allows fish imports to meet the growing demand because local suppliers cannot satisfy the national consumption.
He named major fish importers as Capital Fisheries Limited and Lake Harvest.
He said there are no findings disseminated to the public as ZABS does not inspect the imported fish.