The Highlands Trout project in Lesotho exports 2,000 tones of rainbow trout a year, mainly to Japanese supermarket chain CGC and demand for the produce is high. Ciara Lee reports.
The idea of the Japanese eating sushi fish from a tiny landlocked African country may sound unlikely. But that's exactly what's happening. The mountainous kingdom of Lesotho is completely encircled by South Africa, and supplies water to its much bigger neighbour. It's also home to this fish farm project, hoping to boost the country's economy by meeting overseas demand for trout. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAMPOI LEROTHOLI LABORATORY TECHNICIAN, SAYING: "We have a good catchment area, we get low temperature and that suitable for the growth of our product which is rainbow trout. Also pollution and other problems that you get in city life you don't get them here, we don't get disturbances. The fish can live peacefully." The Highlands Trout project exports about 2,000 tonnes of trout a year to Japan's CGC supermarket. It is even by-passing Tsukiji, Tokyo's massive wholesale fish market - to sell the directly to the retail market. Once the premium fish is processed for export in Lesotho, remaining pieces are shared among community members. Selemo Sitsane, is nursery supervisor at Highlands Trout (SOUNDBITE) (English) SELEMO SITSANE, NURSERY SUPERVISOR, HIGHLANDS TROUT, SAYING: "Residents will be given the heads of the fish to eat. The people who work here are locals; the project has brought many changes and made things better for the community." Lesotho's residents have long worked as migrants in South Africa - the vast majority underground. But with South Africa's gold industry is in a state of steep decline, projects like Highlands Trout are welcomed by locals. The company has been up and running since 2012, and now now wants to expand its annual output to 10,000 tonnes a year.