Country Listing

Zaire Table of Contents


Fishing and Livestock

Zaire has only a small coastline, but fish are abundant in all of Zaire's lakes and rivers with the exception of Lac Kivu. Nevertheless, although fish is an important source of protein in the diet, the amounts harvested are below demand and are considered to be well below the potential; imports, mostly of salted fish, are required to meet demand. Imports, primarily from South Africa and Zimbabwe, normally total about 100,000 tons per year. Marine fishing is under the control of a government organization that operates a small fleet of fishing boats off the mouth of the Congo River. The marine catch, however, is only slightly more than 1 percent of the country's total and is used almost entirely by urban centers in Bas-Za´re and by Kinshasa. Zaire's total fish catch was 162,000 tons in 1988, about 166,000 tons in 1989, and 162,000 tons in 1990. Of these totals, only 2,000 tons were from the Atlantic each year; the remainder came from inland waters. Actual annual production compares very unfavorably with estimated production potential of 330,000 tons per year.

Most of the traditional livestock herding is found in the higher eastern sections of the country, where the tsetse fly, which transmits sleeping sickness, is less of a problem. Commercial herds also are raised in the highland areas of Shaba and Kasai-Occidental regions. Estimates in 1991 showed 1.6 million head of cattle, 910,000 head of sheep, more than 3 million goats, and 830,000 pigs. There were an estimated 19 million chickens in 1987. Sheep and goats are raised by villagers in all parts of the country. Sheep, of a small domestic variety that produces little wool, are raised for their meat and skins; goats are kept for milk and meat. Hogs are generally raised near urban centers. Most villages have flocks of chickens and ducks, and, in the mid-1970s, the government established a model farm outside Kinshasa to supply large quantities of eggs and fowl to the capital. Yet as of the early 1990s, Zaire was still not self-sufficient in animal products and imported sizeable quantities of meat and dairy items--in particular those for which the elite had acquired a taste.

Data as of December 1993