Fish farmer in Likoma can breathe a sigh of relief following an introduction of a Sustainable Fisheries Aquaculture Development and Watershed Management project (SFAD-WM) which among others aims to reduce post-harvest losses of fish to improve the farmers’ income base.
In an interview, Zone Manager for the Project in the Northern Region, Davis Mbamba, said fishermen in Malawi lose about 40 percent of the fish caught hence the project to train the farmers on how they can handle such losses to improve their income.
“The Fishers in Malawi, lose about 40 percent of the already harvested fish and this translates into millions of Kwachas because they do not have some skills on how they can preserve fish hence they lose a lot of already harvested fish.
“However, the SFAD-WM project will help the fish farmers on how they can handle the loss and that will improve their income through saving a lot of fish which would have been lost,” said Mbamba.
Mbamba said apart from dealing with post-harvests, the project will also look at watershed management by among others ensuring that the catchment areas are well managed, as well as working to ease siltation in areas where the fish breed.
He said the land in Likoma is not suitable for pond-culture and the project will dwell much on cage-culture such that the aquaculture farmers would be able to benefit more.
One of the members from Likoma Comsip Cooperative, Golden Chikhanda, commended SFAD-WM Project saying it will improve the economic well being of the people since they will be able to sell their fish as a group.
Chikhanda said the cooperatives in the district lack skills ranging from business management, fish preservation due to unavailability of cold-rooms as well as capacity in financial management.
Among others, the project will look at issues of marketing, value addition such as packaging and labeling, as well as capacity building of the cooperatives.
The $14million Malawi Government Project which is expected to run through 2025, started in January 2020 and is being funded by African Development Bank (ADB) and will work with fishers through cooperatives.