Company ProfileMpende Fisheries LTD

Mpende Fisheries Company was established in 1987 as a fisheries company with its own fleet of fishing vessels and it bought fish from local fishermen. Due to the declining catch in the lake over the last 15 years, Mpende started its aquaculture activities in 2012 and moved from capture fisheries to cage aquaculture, which now is its major source of fish. Mpende operate fish farm with a hatchery, a freezing facility and processing plant which currently has excess capacity and this means Mpende can buy and trade fish from local fishermen, but it accounts for little of total revenue.

Mpende sell the farmed table sized fish through its distribution network which consists of outlets in several towns in Northern and Copperbelt provinces.

Mpende have the only commercial hatchery in the world with a breeding program of the Tanganyika tilapia. Currently the only way Mpende work with smallholder farmers is by distributing these fingerlings to smallholder fish farmers in the outlying areas of Lake Tanganyika in Zambia and Tanzania i.e. smallholder farmers are Mpende’s customers – they don’t work with them in any other way or offer any other services to smallholder farmers, and they have worked with very few smallholder farmers directly in the past. Most of their supply of fingerlings to smallholder farmers has gone through WorldFish or government projects who actually do the distribution.

Project Description

With support from ENTERPRSE Zambia Challenge Fund, Mpende Fisheries will;

  1. Focus is on the hatchery component of the business. The project will map all producers of Tanganyika tilapia in the region.
  2. In the second stage of the project, Mpende will interact with the farmers they have mapped through a baseline study to assess the farmers’ needs and pain points. This will further help to build initial distribution channels for the fingerlings.
  3. In the third stage, Mpende will identify key farmers (around 15) in each region that will then be invited to become “Mpende ambassadors” and they will receive a 4 month training at the Mpende fish farm.
  4. In the fourth stage, Mpende will reach out to fish farmers and start offering them high-quality fingerlings from the Mpende hatchery. The ambassadors will thereby have a key role after the completion of their training. Further, Mpende will organize on-farm trainings and provide extension services and coaching (offline and online) to the farmers buying the fingerlings from the Mpende hatchery.

Marketing, impact on people and the environment;

In terms of quantifying their demand Mpende will do this with quantitative and qualitive evidence from their own retail outlets and letters of intent submitted by their B2B customers. In terms of their fingerlings they are receiving more and more requests from Zambian government and have an off-taker agreement with Tan Lake who are now buying an average of 200,000 fingerlings each month. Fingerlings account for approximately 10% of total sales value in the last 3 years. However, Mpende predict 2022 might be a bit higher than this at around 15%. Accordingly, Mpende have some informal and some formal commitments to buy different products of theirs.

Mpende has been proactively involved in the surrounding community for over 25 years. They have built several public buildings including: two schools, the local police station, the local market, and a bridge. They have established an effective system for engaging the community and involving them in decision making were appropriate  – this is necessary because Mpende is the largest employer in the region.

The most significant environmental impact they have achieved is the fact that they are the first and only player to cage farm Tanganyika tilapia. By farming Tanganyika tilapia, Mpende are increasing the species diversity of the aquaculture industry which is known for relying too much on too few species. Beyond this, Mpende have worked with the Frankfurt Zoological Society, to restock the wild Tanganyika tilapia fish stock, and other organisations like WorldFish on sustainable fishing practices.


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Target Smallholders

Target Jobs