Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources Nancy Tembo has expressed satisfaction with the progress of One Village, One Cage Initiative (Ovoci) being implemented by Maldeco Fisheries and the surrounding communities.
The minister said the project’s outcome is a success.
She said this on Thursday in Mangochi when she visited Maldeco Fisheries or The Foods Company Limited to appreciate how the United Nations Development Programme and Germany Government-funded project is progressing.
Ovoci is an initiative in which Maldeco Fisheries, a subsidiary of Malawi Stock Exchange-listed Press Corporation plc, and the surrounding communities are producing and harvesting fish in Lake Malawi using cage farms.
In an interview after visiting one of the cage farms on Lake Malawi for the symbolic harvest of the fish, Tembo said she was impressed with the fruits of the project.
She said: “I am really impressed and satisfied with the outcome of this project because the results are overwhelming.
“Look at both the quality and quantity of these fishes from the cages. Very wonderful. This is good and inspiring.”
Tembo said the initiative will transform the fishing industry, which is at its lowest level due to climate change, environmental degradation and population boom.
“With this project, we expect a turnaround of events. We are yearning to see more fish on the market which will translate into more protein uptake by people and also boost the economy of the country,” she said.
Tembo called for the up-scaling of the project to address the dwindling fish catches.
“If we can invest more in the project, we are bound to create more jobs for Malawians,” she said.
Tembo further asked Maldeco Fisheries to continue working hard towards the project, saying their contribution to the fish industry and the development of the country is beyond measure.
“The current initiative of involving the communities in the production of fish is extraordinary and can transform poor communities and shape the fish industry,” she said.
Maldeco Fisheries general manager Andrew Santhe commended the commitment government is showing to the company, citing the removal of value added tax on imported feeds in this fiscal year.
He hailed the project, saying it has improved the capacity of fish production and security as communities are guarding each other.
“We are glad with this initiative because it is gainful and also assures security of the fish,” said Santhe.
One of community leaders involved in the project, Jordan Kanyerere, said it has empowered them economically.