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The expansion of the Lake Harvest Aquaculture (LHA) fish farm on Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe. LHA is the largest vertically integrated tilapia farm in sub-Saharan Africa and will expand production from roughly 2,500 tons per annum (tpa) in 2010 to 20,000 tpa by 2015. The company produces fresh and frozen filets and whole fish that are sold on the domestic market (37% of sales in 2010) or exported to markets in southern Africa (50%) and Europe (13%). LHA 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 production.
LHA is well positioned to execute its expansion plan with favorable demand dynamics driven by several factors. From a global perspective, wild catches are stagnating or declining worldwide, meaning that aquaculture could fill the gap, and tilapia is growing in popularity as a source of white protein because of its competitive price and mild flavor. From a regional perspective, rising disposable incomes in Africa are leading to a strong increase in demand for affordable white protein such as tilapia. The number of African consumers that now have enough disposable income to introduce more protein in their diets have increased considerably over the past decade. As the largest established tilapia aquaculture operation in sub-Saharan Africa, LHA is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this growth opportunity. LHA's extensive knowledge, excellent tilapia farming conditions on Lake Kariba (i.e., water quality and temperature) and its established distribution channels, including a growing regional presence, provide sustainable competitive advantages. Locally produced tilapia from LHA provides superior quality and fresher product to substitute for inferior quality imports. Tilapia is also viewed as environmentally friendly as it can be farmed without the use of antibiotics and chemicals and as a herbivorous species requires very little animal protein in its feed.
The economic net present value (ENPV) of the expansion is estimated at USD 64 million using a discount rate of 12%. This corresponds to an economic internal rate of return (EIRR) of 120% and confirms that the project is economically viable and will contribute to economic growth in Zimbabwe and the region. The government benefits through incremental taxes, duties, foreign exchange generation as well as lease and harvest fees. Local labor benefits from increased employment and wages.
Household benefits Positive household benefits from the project derive primarily from job creation. LHA is already one of the two largest employers in the community, and its role as a key employer will increase with the expansion. Approximately 920 new jobs will be created by the expansion evenly split between full-time permanent jobs and seasonal jobs. This equates to roughly 825 new jobs on a full-time equivalent basis. LHA's annual payroll for fish farming and processing will grow from USD 1.7 million in 2010 to USD 5.5 million in 2020. In addition to direct employment, the creation of LHA's wholesale distribution centers is creating additional employment opportunities for local traders that purchase fish in bulk and resell on the informal market. For example, at LHA's center in Lusaka, roughly 100 traders, almost exclusively women, are buying on a daily basis. On average, these traders are purchasing 30 kg per day and LHA estimates that they are able to earn USD 20 per day or USD 400 per month, which is significantly better than other trading options.
While there is no acute food shortage in Zimbabwe or in Southern Africa, the expansion will increase the availability of affordable, high-quality white protein source to low income consumers. With projected annual sales of over 17 ,000 tpa in the region, this provides an enhancement of food supply for consumers in LHA's regional target markets. For low-income consumers, belly flaps (the by-product after filleting) and cutlets (slices of whole ungutted fish) are sold at price well below other alternatives such as chicken. Infrastructure The project will not contribute to infrastructure development.
Government LHA will contribute to government revenues through taxes, (corporate taxes at a rate of 26%, payroll taxes, VAT and import duties), as well as lease payments under the concession and a harvesting fee linked to the volume of fish produced. Because the company has cumulated tax losses, LHA is expected to start paying corporate taxes in 2015, once losses that can be carried forward and offset are fully used. It is estimated that government revenues resulting from the project will increase from an estimated USD 2.7 million this year to USD 8.5 million in 2021.
Macroeconomic resilience Positive effects on macroeconomic resilience derive from economic diversification, regional integration and foreign exchange generation. Zimbabwe's primary exports are minerals (i.e., platinum, gold) as well as cotton and tobacco. The expansion of fish exports will provide greater diversification and contribute to intra-regional trade. Roughly 65% of LHA's production, or USD 39 million per year when full output levels are reached in 2015, will be sold in regional markets such as Zambia, South Africa, DRC and others. LHA will also import goods and materials from regional suppliers, which will further increase the total amount of intra-regional trade. The project will also generate foreign exchange through tilapia exports. Net annual foreign exchange generation is expected to reach USD 7 million in 2015 and increase to USD 10 million in 2021.
Environmental effects The project is rated Category Two under the Bank's environmental and social safeguards policies. As such, an environmental and social management plan has been prepared in compliance with the Bank's requirements. LHA is committed to following local regulations and international best practices in its operations. LHA occupies roughly 70 ha on land and 12 ha on Lake Kariba, representing about 0.4% of Lake Kariba's surface area. LHA has undertaken regular environmental monitoring. The key issue with the expansion will be increased effluent, transport and noise issues; the last two can easily be mitigated taking into consideration recommendations by the community during consultations. The impact of increased effluent will be mitigated by installation of an oil (fat) and water separator at the factory outlet and strong liaison between LHA and the Municipality to ensure upgrading of the current waste water treatment plant. Regular environmental monitoring has demonstrated that LHA's operations have no negative impacts on Lake Kariba and that there is potential for expansion without causing any environmental harm. LHA will need to engage the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) to ensure that research gaps identified by LHA and Lake Kariba Fisheries Research Institute (LKFRI) are addressed. The EMA has a local office in Kariba, and carries out the ambient measurements. The EMA is adequately resourced, whereas the NPW is under-resourced. It has not carried out its annual Lake Kariba sustainability assessment since 2004 when the data collection system for the lake collapsed.
The Bank's site visit to Kariba revealed great attention to protecting the environment such as good waste management practices. The local authorities are very pleased with the quality of operations. LHA's operations do not use hazardous chemicals or other controversial substances. The company does use very small amounts of testosterone to produce all-male populations. This method is used in all medium- and large-scale tilapia operations in the world. The risk of pollution to Lake Kariba from LHA operations is extremely small. While there are pockets of Water Hyacinth (aquatic plant signaling eutrophication) in the lake, its pattern has no direct link to LHA's activities but rather use of the lake by the people and animals as it is mostly in the periphery and along boat routes.
Gender and social effects In 2010, LHA employed roughly 100 women, or 20% of the total workforce. This included four women employed in management positions. Through the expansion program, roughly 344 new jobs for women are expected to be created, which would increase the percentage of women to 34% of the workforce. In addition, 11 of these new jobs for women would be in management positions (43% of total management positions). LHA is also a major contributor to the local community through support to local schools, the hospital and orphanage. The LHA expansion is not expected to have any negative social impacts on other lake users. The other fishermen on the lake are Kapenta fishermen; their association has been a key stakeholder in the environmental and social consultations undertaken by LHA. Lake Harvest has never received any complaints from other lake users or local stakeholders. Besides LHA, the region has only limited formal employment in tourism, including the house boats operating on the lake, and two crocodile farms operating on the shores. LHA has an ownership stake in both farms, and the rationale for them is to supply fish processing residues as crocodile feed.
Private sector development and demonstration effects LHA will contribute to private sector development in Zimbabwe through purchases of goods and materials in the local economy. In particular, the project will purchase maize and soy from local farmers for the feed mill, which will stimulate the local agriculture sector. These local linkages are estimated at roughly USD 10 million per year by 2015.
Business success LHA's estimated weighted-average cost of capital is 11% whereas the estimated equity IRR of the expansion is 32%. Therefore, the expansion will greatly enhance the profitability of LHA.
NAKYEYUNE Rita - SNOU