Malawi Government has said lack of fingerlings and high cost of feed is negatively affecting the Presidential Initiative on Aquaculture Development (Piad) which is expected to boost fish production for local consumption and export.
Deputy chief fisheries officer in the Ministry of Agriculture Jacqueline Kazembe said this in an interview with the Malawi News Agency (Mana) on the progress of the second phase of Piad.
â€œCurrently, we cannot meet the local demand due to lack of fingerlings and affordable feed,â€ said Kazembe.
Malawiâ€™s demand for fish stands at four kilogramme per personally annually, but government wants to increase that to 14 kilogrammes per person per annum.
Kazembe said government, through the National Aquaculture Centre in Zomba, is producing more fingerlings to supply to farmers.
She, however, said the second phase will see small-scale farmers empowered to produce fingerlings as one of the measures to curb the challenges facing commercial fish farming.
â€œWe received K100 million from government to organise farmers in groups so they are empowered with knowledge on how they can boost fish production,â€ said Kazembe.
The first phase of Piad, which expired in June last year, focussed on supplementing the countryâ€™s water bodies with fish.
â€œPlans are also underway to engage some farmers and the private sector in fish feed making,â€ she said.
She said farmers are also encouraged to practise cage culture, a system in which fish is raised in cases and matures within six to eight months.
Malawi produces 2 500 metric tonnes of fish from ponds and 80 000 to 90 000 metric tonnes from its natural waters.
According to the World Fish Centre (WFC), Malawi has experienced a sharp chambo decline from 9 400 tonnes in 1985 to 1 400 tonne in 1999.
The projected demand for chambo, according to WFC, is 10 000 tonnes per year.â€”Mana