Fish farming in Sub-Saharan Africa has been dominated by the cichlids commonly known as tilapias. Of the tilapias, the genus, Oreochromis has been the most cultured species in aquaculture in Zambia.

It can be regarded as a monoculture species, sought after for its great growth and ease of management in aquaculture systems that include ponds, cages, and recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). Most fish feeds are in line with at least the tilapia fish farmer’s needs. In fact, catfish is much easier to culture and raise due to its ability to breathe both with its lungs and gills. They are from the Clarius genus and Claridae family which include Clarias gariepinus and Clarias ngamensis. They can stay in an aquaculture system without dissolved oxygen and still survive.

Water quality in fish farming is one of the most challenging parameters to manage and one that is mostly responsible for mortalities in aquaculture systems. In comparison with tilapias, catfish can handle poor water quality, grow faster, has more meat, and is probably a good return on investment as well. In Zambia, not all tilapias are allowed to be grown or cultured everywhere. Species like Oreochromis niloticus are not allowed by law to be cultured on the Northern circuit that includes Luapula, Northern, Muchinga, part of Eastern, North-Western and Western Provinces due to its invasiveness against our local species such as Oreachromis machrochir (green-headed bream),

Oreochromis andersonii (three spotted bream), Oreochromis tanganyicae (Mpende), and Cryptodon rendalii (redbreasted bream). Due to this government intervention, the drive to sustainable aquaculture and fisheries, local species protection, and building climate resilient systems, it may be worthwhile to diversify. Catfish is an attractive option. There is a huge government drive to promote fish farming in Zambia through various economic empowerment projects such as Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) through Aqua-fund and Constituency Development Funds (CDF).

Therefore, Novatek Animal Feeds Zambia decided to introduce a solution to farmers choosing catfish as the future of aquaculture. The introduction of catfish feeds for various age ranges, from hatchery to grow-outs, is a game changer. Novatek Animal Feeds embraces the diversity that should be reflected in fish farming and the great opportunity catfish brings in an industry dominated by tilapia. The monoculture scenario in the fish industry has evolved because most have never thought outside the box of tilapia and understand the advantage in both growth and survival that catfish has over tilapia. The other deterring factor was the unavailability of catfish feeds and fingerlings.

Those that had ventured into it found it expensive to import the feeds, especially from West Africa where catfish is more commonly farmed and consumed. Novatek Animal Feeds can now cushion this gap by producing catfish feeds locally and with the quality Zambian farmers expect from Novatek. The different catfish feed ranges with feeding guidelines can be seen in the table below. Novatek Animal Feeds Zambia also has the expertise required to assist you with your catfish best farming practices and help you grow into prosperity.

Catfish feeding Table: Feeding guidelines for African Catfish expressed as percentage body weight per day.

Novatek Animal Feeds urges you to look at catfish as a viable fish farming venture that has no restrictions over growing areas, shows better growth, survival rates, and export opportunities, especially into the Congo. Farmers in the Northern Provinces who are forbidden by law to culture Oreochromis niloticus and are well positioned to export into the DRC, are taking up this Novatek propelled initiative to venture into catfish culture.

Novatek Animal Feeds Zambia promotes diversity in fish farming; contact us today and we shall be on hand to assist you. For more information, send an e-mail to Robert Kanyembo, Novatek National Sales Manager, on, or contact him on +260-97-1252-522. Visit the website at