Agriculture and fishing are the traditional occupations of the area, and a commercial faming area extends along the edge of the Kafue Flats for 35 km north-west of the town. Commercial fishing operations of any size are limited to fish farming. Kafue has a larger proportion of manufacturing industries than most other towns outside the Copperbelt, having an industrial estate with housing and services called Kafue Estates. The industries there include:
- Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (agricultural fertilisers)
- Bata Tannery (shoe leather)
Other industries in or near the town:
- Kafue Fisheries Ltd was first established in 1981 with a five hectare pilot scheme. Over the succeeding years, the project has grown to its present size of 60 hectare ponds situated in the centre of 1800 hectare wildlife and cattle scheme. The whole aquaculture system is based on an integrated pig and fish enterprise with annual production of Tilapia exceeding 700 tonnes and 4000 pigs of the ‘heavy hog’ class.
For many years the system relied on the natural process of fertilization by the pig manure thus creating a dynamic and complex spectrum of micro life (algae, phytoplankton and zooplankton) on which the fish feed.
The dominant species have been Tilapia’s, using both indigenous O.Andersonii and imported O.Niloticus. The hatchery has evolved from using natural propagation in earthen ponds to selected brood stock in polytunnels, and the production of all male progeny using both super males and MT technology.
Intensification and yield increases have steadily been seen over the years with the introduction of aeration and the manufacture of a unique supplementary “green water floating pellet”. The formulation of the pellet was developed with cooperation of an international feed company and a UK based researched institute.
Historically the project has incorporated and tested several other species of fish (other Tilapia, Carp and Barbel) as well as trialling further aspects of integration (other livestock forms, vegetable varieties, rice and banana production).
The pedigree pig herd has over the last 15 years used some of the top bloodlines in Europe including genetic lines which originate as far away as Norway and Finland. The sale of breeding stock throughout Zambia has contributed significantly to the national herd and thus the domestic pork industry as a whole.
Finally KFL in 1988 was the first enterprise in Zambia to trial game-farming and its commercial potential. All aspects of game farming have been used including tourist facility, live sale, venison production and international hunting. At the time of writing the project carries approximately 1000 head of game with 16 different species of antelope utilizing the broad range of habitats. The Kafue Lechwe, which is unique to the floodplain on which the farm is based, has thrived as well as a range of other species which are rare in other areas of Africa. The bird count of 444 species recorded over the years is testament to the diversity and conservation of the habitats found within the property.
- Kafue Quarry produces construction aggregate for road building and general construction.
- Kafue Gorge Dam generates hydroelectricity 30 km downstream from the town, and at the end of the rainy season its reservoir extends back to the town.
- a cement works is proposed.
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