BY OBERT SIAMILANDU
KAPENTA producers in Kariba have fumed over the emergence of illegal operators who have allegedly invaded their market.
The illegal operators normally sell the product at below market prices, pushing licensed producers out of business.
Kapenta fish prices have been going up in recent weeks with a kilogramme of the product selling for anything between US$6 and US$7.
Illegal operators sell the same product at between US$4 and US$5.
Kapenta Producers Association of Zimbabwe chairperson Tanga Kanhema said the industry was now on its knees because of illegal operators.
“This is so sad for the industry. Illegal operators are killing the industry because they have nothing to lose even if they charge way beyond the official prices,” Kanhema said.
“The main challenge we are facing is that kapenta is being sold by people who do not incur expenditure or overheads and do not mind selling the product at any price of their choice.
“Their product is also not well dried, a trend which is killing the market because when buyers see such a product, the assumption is, it’s from registered Kariba operators.”
According to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority kapenta fishing statutes, only licensed operators are allowed to deal in kapenta.