In Kakhuta village under Traditional Authority Chiseka of Lilongwe lives a 38 year old diverse farmer who has nothing but praise for fish farming. Arnold Kasumbu, once a tobacco farmer, he turned into fish farming in 2005 after getting very little from the sales of his tobacco for five years in a roll.
“I would invest about K500, 000 to grow tobacco only to get back the exact same amount and at times I would even get less. I grew poorer by the year and this frustrated me so much.
I ventured into fish farming in 2005 after I had attended a farming meeting in the area where agriculture extension workers introduced the concept (fish farming) to us,” Kasumbu told Malawi News Agency (Mana).
Kasumbu, a member of Kakhuta fish farming club, has four dams where he breeds cat fish and tilapia sold to fish mongers and several supermarkets in Lilongwe. He also uses the dam for irrigating maize which he grows around it (the dam) three times a year.
“Fish farming has helped me a lot. I realize about K1, 300,000 from my fish farming business which I harvest twice a year in June and December. I make about K700, 000 from the June harvest and about K300, 000 from the December harvest.
“I also breed pigs which I sell at K30, 000 per pig and sell maize which I grow through irrigation around the dams. I have just started breeding cattle,” said Kasumbu whose farm business operates under the name Fish and Green Gardens.
Kasumbu says he has built two houses in Kawale township of Lilongwe, has two commercial buildings which he rents out and is constructing another in his village, has a fish market and bought a motor cycle through the fish business.
“Today I am the opposite of what I was in 2005. I live a comfortable life; I am able to take care of my wife and three children. I now train others on how to be successful in fish farming business. I do not regret going into fish farming,” said Kasumbu.
District Fisheries Officer, Idah Kandiuze told Mana that Lilongwe District Council through her office is encouraging fish farming in all 18 Traditional Authorities as one alternative agribusiness to tobacco whose market price has been declining in recent years.
“We introduced fish farming to provide an alternative agribusiness to tobacco which government is replacing with several other agribusinesses following the global anti-smoking campaign. We encourage farmers to form fish farming clubs where we train them in fish farming business. We have seen an increase in demand for fish farming,” said Kandiuze.
Kandiuze’s office helps farmers to construct fish dams through funding from the Local Development Fund and other projects being implemented by non-governmental organizations. Farmers are also encouraged to use the dams for irrigation farming to ensure food security.
“When farmers request for fish dams, we train them on how to manage the dams in clubs. Once the dam is constructed, we encourage them to operate as a business unit which breed fish and use the surrounding area for irrigation farming to ensure food and financial security,” said Kandiuze.
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