Zambia's Aquatic Enterprises Forge Vital Market and Financing Links

4 minutes read
SME at the event
  • Zambian Small and Medium Enterprisess in the Aquatic Food Systems sector benefit from pivotal market and financing linkages to enhance their production and business sustainability
  • Key stakeholders, including government bodies and chain stores, come together in Kitwe, Zambia to empower SMEs with the skills and connections needed to thrive in the aquaculture industry.

For most Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the biggest challenge is finding a steady market for their products and having beneficial linkages with market players. The situation is even more pronounced in the Aquatic Food Systems sector which is in its infancy in Zambia. 

A study in Zambia by CGIAR researchers revealed that, for smallholders to achieve better production outcomes from fish farming, they need improved access to inputs and other necessary resources, training to increase their management skills, and links to output markets that demand their products. The researchers stated that there should also be efforts to strengthen technical knowledge of aquaculture and business skills.

The fish value chain in Zambia is supported by a network of relationships among the government, private sector actors, and the donor community, and others. These relationships are crucial for the sustainability of small and emerging businesses.

Capacity Building for SMEs

The Government of the Republic of Zambia through the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSME) partnered with CNC360 Consulting to implement a Capacity Building Training Programme for SMEs in Zambia. At the invitation of the MSME and CNC360, WorldFish took part in the event and sponsored four SMEs to attend the event held  in Kitwe, Zambia from 19 to 21 March 2024.

Through this event, WorldFish sought to integrate and link SMEs under the Program for Improving Fisheries Governance and Blue Economy Trade Corridors in SADC Region (PROFISHBLUE) nutrition component with industry players in efforts to promote their businesses.

The event aligned with the component's objectives to strengthen the availability and accessibility of nutritious aquatic food products to communities in the SADC region and to improve the supply chain, markets, and policy instruments to build resilient stakeholders across the food system.

“This event is one of the components’ responses to challenges SMEs face in penetrating bigger markets and accessing financing to boost their businesses. WorldFish Program Manager Lizzy Muzungaire explained.

One-Stop Shop for SMEs

The event was officially opened by the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the MSMEs Subeta Mutelo. Chief buyers from major chain stores such as Shoprite, Choppies, and Pick ‘n Pay were present at the event. Others who featured included; financiers, and the Zambia Credit Guarantee Scheme. Policy enforcement agencies were also present, making it a one-stop shop clinic strategically placed to provide a platform for SMEs to create linkages and understand the market.

In her speech, Subeta Mutelo expressed excitement at the strides being made aimed at developing mutually beneficial linkages for all market actors. 

Speaking during the event, Choppies Marketing Manager Mwansa Fundafunda who bemoaned the low presence of aquatic foods in most chain stores stated that the biggest challenge for SMEs is not the non-availability of markets, but staying on the market. He urged SMEs to explore ways to ensure their production levels are sustained.

CEEC CEO Dr. Mungule interacts with SMEs at the WorldFish booth
CEEC CEO Dr. Mungule interacts with SMEs at the WorldFish booth


Citizens’ Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) Chief Executive Officer Mr. Charles Muwe Mungule encouraged SMEs to take advantage of the Industrial Yards - a Government of Zambia initiative through the MSMEs that offers market space for amalgamated SMEs. - by aggregating which would make it easy for them to access funds and other services. 

Edna Kalala, one of the SMEs being supported by WorldFish through the PROFISHBLUE project stated that the platform provided an opportunity to interact with other stakeholders and SMEs on how they are sustaining their businesses. “We are very optimistic that the networks that we have acquired will help us in our business growth,” she said.

SMEs under WorldFish also took part in the exhibition that was part of the event. CEEC CEO visited the stand and encouraged the SMEs to aggregate and take advantage of the industrial yards.

The event saw significant engagement, drawing over 500 attendees, with 322 SMEs showcasing their offerings, represented by 151 female and 171 male exhibitors.


Agness Chileya

Communications Assistant