Low production by majority of small-scale fish farmers remains a setback for more to venture into the trade as they are scared to lose time, energy and resources invested in fish ponds.
National Aquaculture Centre (NAC) manager at Domasi in Zomba, Dr. Hastings Zidana, said the problems that affect fish production are the systems and methodologies some farmers use in their fish ponds.
He cited poor methods of fish farming, for instance, overstocking, poor fish feeds and unhygienic conditions of the ponds.
In a drive to arrest losses farmers register in fish production, Zidana has unveiled NAC’s plans of introducing ‘Large Size Pond Fish Technology’.
“The technology specifies the recommended pond depth of 2metres (m), with 1.5m water level. Organic manure, preferably chicken manure, is applied at 400 grammes per square metre as a basal application and additional of 200 grammes per square metre every month.
“If in-organic fertiliser, like 23:21:0 + 4S, is applied, the rate is 10 grammes per square metre as basal application and additional of four grammes per square metres every month. Manure application is done before filling in water to boost the growth of natural food for fish in the pond,” said Zidana.
Fish farmers in the country have expressed hope with the new technology. Andrew Samson, a farmer from Namadidi in Zomba who has been in the fishing industry for about eight years, described it (the new technology) as crucial in fish farming.
Samson recalled how, previously, he was raising both male and female fish in one pond for over 10 months but was having minimal yields.
“We are optimistic that this new technology will enable us raise fish twice a year, a development that will definitely raise our livelihoods,” he said.
Another fish farmer Jonas Chilele from Mapwanga Village, Senior Chief Mlumbe in Zomba , while agreeing with Samson on increased production, said that the new technology will also help in production of nutritious fish.
“With the continuous application of manure, the fish pond will be producing organic planktons which are important in fish and human beings development. We just need increased civic education on this new technology in order to maximise production,” said Chilele.