Govt scales up fish production

Precious Manomano Herald Reporter

A total of 136 fish ponds and 22 dams have been stocked with 885 500 fingerlings since last month as the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development scales up efforts to boost fish production.

In its weekly update, Agricultural and Rural Advisory Services said so far Manicaland had stocked 153 000 fingerlings in 102 fish ponds, Mashonaland Central 20 000 in five fish ponds and two dams, Mashonaland East 291 000 in 191 fish ponds and one dam, Mashonaland West 85 500 in 57 ponds, Masvingo 112 000 in 44 fish ponds and nine dams, Matabeleland North 105 000 in 46 fish ponds and four dams, Matabeleland South 76 500 in 25 fish ponds and four dams, and Midlands province 42 000 in 28 fish ponds.

The Government is pulling out all stops to ensure that fish farming grows to contribute effectively to the national agenda of boosting food and nutrition security and income generation in line with the fisheries and aquaculture development strategy.

The introduction of community gardens that accommodate two fish ponds and the dams being built across the country has given birth to many fish hotspots that have the potential to turn commercial and generate income for the participating households.

This has seen the Government increase the number of fish ponds by 29 percent from 5 634 fish ponds in 2022 to 7 247 last year.

Fish farmers said there is need to diversify, with several individuals now earning a living through aquaculture.

Mr Amos Bhebhe of Mashonaland West said farmers should take advantage of water bodies that exist in their areas.

“A lot of people are earning a living through aquaculture. This is a positive step towards diversity, improving nutrition and incomes. We appreciate the initiative and we hope the majority will benefit a lot from this strategy,” he said.

“Fish farming has many benefits to individuals. We encourage farmers who are close to water bodies to use the opportunity because a farmer needs to diversify farming to make profits.”

Another farmer, Ms Clara Musabaiwa, expressed excitement on the move by the Government to come up with the Bill on fisheries as farmers in the region were being short-changed by bogus suppliers  who were supplying poor quality fingerlings.

She said the Government’s initiative would uplift farmers.

“We have fish farmers here, but most were not harvesting to their expectations largely because of some unscrupulous individuals who were supplying substandard fingerlings that were not giving the expected yields,” said Ms Musabaiwa.

“Fish farmers are, therefore, extremely excited by the Government’s move on the Presidential Fisheries Programme as it will result in us getting quality fingerlings which will help us contribute towards agriculture.”

The Government is set to support more fish farmers as a way to boost productivity so that they realise better returns from fish value chains.

Fish farming is the fastest-growing food-producing sector and can be produced more efficiently and cost-effectively.

The Presidential Fisheries Programme is set to be introduced in 1 200 dams across the country with 50 000 fingerlings set to be released into each dam by 2025.

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