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Attendees call for more farmer-centred program for AFRAQ conference

February 1, 2024  By Bob Atwiine

Royd Mukonda, centre with a lab coat, with vistors at Mukasa Fish Farm in Kabwe, Zambia PHOTOS: BOB ATWIINE

Industry attendees have challenged the organizers of the next Aquaculture Africa conference to put more emphasis on designing a program for ordinary fish farmers and small-scale farmers.

According to professionals who attended the second edition of AFRAQ in Mulungushi Zambia, the whole setting was an academic exercise and had less impact on an ordinary farmer. The conference took place on Nov. 13-16, 2023.

Royd Mukonda, a Zambian aquaculture expert and chief executive officer of Mukasa Fish Farm in Kabwe, Zambia, says the main criticism from fellow attendees he has talked to was that the program was not farmer-centred but about research and academia.

“It should be the one that answers the needs of small-scale fish farmers who have little capital and not too sophisticated and expensive which is highly prohibitive,” he said.


The Zambian hatchery design consultant adds that during presentations, there should have been more public awareness on local radio stations to increase awareness about sustainable aquaculture that answers farmer’s needs and technology. 

Mukonda presented two papers at the conference – one on the impact of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) programs in Zambia and another one on aquatic animal health research work on Saprolegnia treatment protocol tool.

Nevertheless, Mukonda noted that the conference created an opportunity for networking and technology exchange.

“As a business, it gave us an opportunity to get to know the suppliers of good quality aquaculture equipment,” he said.

AFRAQ 2023 attracted members from 73 countries who converged in the Zambia’s capital, Lusaka.

Special side sessions and covering several important thematic areas were held and hosted by development organizers which equipped attendees with knowledge regarding aquatic animal health, welfare, and biosecurity.

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