Unlocking Zimbabwe’s pond aquaculture potential
Following Robert Mugabe’s resignation as president in November, Zimbabwe’s new government has launched an ambitious $432 million project that should help improve the country’s aquaculture output.
Zimbabwe holds an estimated 60 percent of all the dammed water in southern Africa and is home to the largest freshwater fish farm in Africa. Yet less than 5 percent of the 400,000 hectares suitable for inland aquaculture is currently being utilised for fish production, according to the Zimbabwe Fish Producers’ Association.
Members of a co-operative process tilapia© Aquaculture Zimbabwe
However, the government is working to develop fish farming and fish consumption in the country. On 21 December 2017 the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri, launched a US$432 million command agriculture programme that will incorporate livestock, fisheries and wildlife. The government and private funders will jointly finance the initiative.
In launching the policy, Muchinguri Kashiri said the government-led programme will fund projects in reservoirs and ponds across the country.
“We now have [fewer] dams because we lost some of them due to flooding and poor maintenance,” she said. “I want to make sure that most of them are fully utilised because some of them had become white elephants. In support of this command programme, through the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, my ministry’s primary focus shall be to ensure that all dams are fully stocked with fingerlings for the benefit of surrounding communities, thereby ensuring that their food and nutrition needs are met. To date 350 requests have been received from individuals and entities desiring to participate in the command fisheries programme.”
Meanwhile the Integrated and Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Production for Improved Food Security for Vulnerable Households in Zimbabwe project, which launched in 2013, is still running in eight of the country’s poorest and driest districts.
Three not-for-profit organisations – World Vision, Basilwizi Trust and Aquaculture Zimbabwe – are implementing the European Commission (EC) backed initiative in eight districts – Binga, Hwange, Insiza, Masvingo rural, Kariba, Umzingwane, Mwenezi and Beitbridge.
Clive Garaushoma, the fisheries co-ordinator at World Vision Zimbabwe, says the project has helped to improve the incomes, nutrition and fish farming skills of co-operative members. Some people who used to fish illegally in western Zimbabwe have had their operations formalised and market access enhanced, and are now able to bargain for better prices for their produce, he adds.
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