The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) recently approved a loan of USD 8 Million to finance the Lake Harvest Aquaculture project on Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe. This loan will help Lake Harvest Aquaculture expand its tilapia fish farming significantly and provide an important supply of affordable protein to the sub region. In total, development finance institutions together, in partnership with the AfDB, are providing USD 20 million in loans towards the project.
The AfDB’s USD 8 million loan will make finance available for a viable agro-industrial project in a fragile state. This will be the AfDB’s first private sector investment in Zimbabwe as part of its efforts to selectively re-engage in the country. Together with other development finance institutions, the AfDB will ensure that the project continues to adhere to international good practices on environmental and social management. Lake Harvest Aquaculture complies with strict European production standards and is the only fish farming operation in Africa certified by GlobalGap, a review body that sets voluntary standards for environmentally and socially sustainable aquaculture.
“We are delighted that the AfDB has made this substantial commitment to finance the continued growth of Lake Harvest Aquaculture, already the largest aquaculture business in Africa,” said Henry Pitman, chief executive of African Century Foods. The development of LHA is part of African Century Foods’ strategy to develop a large scale pan African white protein business, and we look forward to working with the AfDB and other DFIs in pursuing this objective.
Upon completion of its expansion program, Lake Harvest Aquaculture will produce 20,000 tons of fish each year with a broad offering of fresh and frozen products. The company is primarily targeting African markets, with Zimbabwe expected to absorb 37 percent of production. It will export a further 50 percent to markets in the southern African region, while Europe is expected to absorb the remaining 13 percent of exports. The project’s developmental benefits include job creation, economic growth and diversification. It will also contribute to government revenues, regional trade and integration, foreign exchange generation and enhanced food security in Zimbabwe and neighboring countries.
“Lake Harvest Aquaculture is considered by many experts as a role model for sustainable fish farming on the continent” said Tim Turner, director of the AfDB’s Private Sector and Microfinance Department. “Lake Harvest is expected to generate more than 900 new high-quality permanent jobs by 2015 and will contribute to an estimated USD 33 million at present value terms in government revenues over the next 10 years”, he added.