Villagers reap from cage fish farming

Thirty villagers from Group Village Headman Makokola in Mangochi district situated in Eastern Region of Malawi on Monday February 27, 2012 sang and danced following harvesting of over 200kgs of fish from two fish cages that were constructed on Lake Malawi with support from UNDP.

UNDP Malawi developed the initiative on cage fish farming in response to the growing demand that has arisen due to dwindling supply of fish from Lake Malawi and to generate incomes for the poor households to be able to fend for their families.

According to UNDP Malawi, Malawi has a long standing fishing tradition and a majority of people depend on fish products for proteins. However, due to overfishing and usage of seine and small sized nets and disregard for fish regulations to protect breeding, fish catches have declined over the years.

Cage fish farming

After six months of hard work, which included daily feeding of the fish, the villager’s harvested fish from two of the three cages that were constructed with support from a UNDP supported programme, the Growing Sustainable Businesses (GSB) project that is implemented by the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre formerly known as the Malawi Investment and Promotion Agency (MIPA).]

UNDP partnered with Poverty Solutions, a Non Governmental Organisation that works with communities in Mangochi district to mobilise the communities and the Malawi College of Fisheries for technical expertise.

The support included trainings for the farmers, cage fish construction materials and supply of fingerlings and fish feeds.

45 farmers were trained in fish cage construction and other elements of cage fish farming. However, at the time of the harvest, the group had 30 committed men and women ready to alleviate their poverty through selling fish from the cages.

One of the farmers, Mary Gama beamed with excitement.

“I am so excited, we are going to share proceeds from the sale. With my share, I intend to pay fees for my two children who are in secondary school. I will also buy some basic necessities like sugar, salt and soap,” she said.

Gama said with the skills acquired, they intend as a group to continue with cage fish farming and increase the number of cages so as to harvest more fish and realise more profit.

As a way of sustainability, UNDP has linked the farmers to a micro finance institution, Microloan to enable them get loans to continue with the cage fish farming.

UNDP Assistant Resident Representative (Growth and MDGs Achievement) Agnes Chimbiri said it was pleasing to witness the fruits of UNDP support towards initiatives aimed at alleviating poverty among poor households in the villages.

“UNDP provided K11 million for the project. I am happy that all the fish was bought before the harvest. We will continue to link you to markets,” she said.

Malawi Investment and Trade Centre Acting Manager, Clement Kumbemba said he was very happy that the objectives of the project were being achieved following the harvest.

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