The Blantyre district fisheries office has commended the growth of the fisheries sector buoyed by a number of interventions made by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), government departments and Local Development Fund (LDF) leading to the construction of 80 fish ponds.
The district’s fisheries officer, Paul Madzikusamba, said in an interview that with LDF alone, group and individual farmers constructed close to 50 ponds which means that the number of farmers is increasing.
“More people are now developing interest in fish farming due to the support the sector is getting from both government and NGOs who are pumping in huge sums of money. This is evidenced by the number of additional ponds that were sunk last year,” he said.
Madzikusamba said the growth of the fisheries sector in the district complements the low levels of fish on the market, which, has been caused by the dwindling fish levels in Lake Malawi.
The Catholic Development Commission in Malawi (Cadecom), World Vision Malawi (WVM) and CCAP Blantyre Synod are some of the non-State actors that have pumped money and other resources in the sector.
Meanwhile, Chilomoni Fish and Meat Farmers Cooperative based at Lumbira in Chilomoni, said they have realised enough money to invest in fish fillet production business this year.
The cooperative’s chairperson, Wolisi Wosh Jana, told Malawi News Agency (Mana) that construction of the factory to produce fish fillet was at roofing level and that various donors have pledged to assist the group in buying the machines.
“As a means of adding value to the fish that we have been selling since 2005, we would like to move into the production of fillets which we believe will boost our income as we will now make more money due to the prospects of exports,” he said.
Jana said fish fillet production requires them to have more fish ponds since all the fish that will be produced will not be sold, but will be processed and packed for the export market.
He, however, deplored cases of fish theft at their ponds which led to decreased revenue last year, adding that the trend affects the output.