Dowa District Council’s Fisheries Officer, Francis Sidira, has said aquaculture production is increasing in the district making fresh fish available but not meeting the demand of the customers.
Sidira said starting from 2015, fishing per individual farmer has been increasing from 20kgs per 200 square metre pond to over 40 to 60kgs in 2017.
He said even though the demand for fresh fish is high with the district far away from the fresh waters of Lake Malawi, there’s a great need to improve nutritional intake of the communities and increasing capacity of production.
Speaking in an interview, Sidira said the district has Local Development Fund (LDF) groups such as Kumbirani in Traditional Authority Chiwere, Kamphata in Traditional Authority Chakhaza and Nankhama in Traditional Authority Dzoole, but the demand is so high than the fish itself.
Sidira expressed hope that the year 2018 will be a great year to the fish harvesting farmers as more and more NGOs have expressed their interest of supporting fish production in the district.
He thanked NGOs such as CICOD, CARD and TAP for leading the process of improving nutritional status amongst the rural communities in fish production with the Malawi Disaster Risk Recovery Program (MDRRP) rehabilitating and maintaining fish ponds in the areas of Traditional Authority Mkukula and Dzoole which were heavily hit by the 2015 drought.
The officer then thanked government for supporting fish farmers with fingerlins (seeds) and harvesting nets through LDF and Other Recurrent Transaction (ORT) in order to boost fish farming in Dowa district saying farmers are very grateful for the gesture as they cannot afford to buy fish harvesting nets at K250,000.
He appealed to all Agriculture, irrigation and water partners in the district to work together in supporting the establishment of new dams which are being built under LDF MASAF projects such as Chimbwala fish pond in Chibvala E.P.A., in the area of T /A Mkukula and Kamphata in the area of T/A Chakhaza so that they meet their intended purposes of improving nutritional status in the district.
At one of the previous full council meeting, Dowa District Commissioner, Fannie Msimuko, commended the improvement of fish farming after seeing the harvesting at Chimungu dam in Dowa North’s Dzoole B in the district.
Msimuko asked the council members to visit the district’s dams to cherish what fish farming farmers are doing in the district making it as a business of supporting their families and at the same time developing the district.
Dowa district has 346 dams, 247 fish farmers and 10 fish farming groups.