Rising cost of feed haunts Mzimba fish farmers


Fish farmers in Mzimba have complained about the rising cost of fish feed which they say affects sustainability of the fish farming industry in the district.

Speaking in an interview on Thursday, Anna Nyirenda of Mapanja Fish Farming Group in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Mzikubola said the groups is facing tough times in sustaining fish farming because of the high cost feed.

‘‘Feed is so expensive that if there is any hindrance to fish farming it is non but the cost of feed. We buy a 25-kilogram bag of feed at K50, 000.00 or above and this is very expensive to sustain this farming. We therefore ask government and organisations to train us in feed making so that we start making it ourselves to cut costs,’’ said Nyirenda.

Another farmer, Jonathan Nyirenda of Makazi Fishing Farming Group in the area of Paramount M’mbelwa said fish farming is a profitable business and urged farmers to start making feed on their own for maximised profits.

‘‘I have been in fish farming for ages and I have benefited a lot from it. I have bought land for farming, constructed brick fences for my houses among others from the proceeds of this business.
I harvest twice annually and rake in over K300,000.00 from each harvest. This means that I realise over K600,000 from fish sales. This farming is really profitable,’’ said Nyirenda.

District Fisheries officer for Mzimba, Andrew Saukani said fish farming is progressing well in the district as many people have ventured into it and the district has a total of 572 fish farmers with 678 fish ponds.

‘‘Fish farming is on the right track in Mzimba as we have noted communities’ enthusiasm in seeking support from Fisheries Sector itself and other organisations,’’ said Saukani.

However, Saukani concurred with the farmers saying that fish feed is indeed expensive.

He said that to address the challenge, his office has trained most farmers in making the feed using locally available ingredients like soya, maize and fish meal but many farmers are reluctant to venture into feed making as they want free provision of feed by government and partner organisations.

‘‘It’s not sustainable to provide fish farmers with feed and does not make any business sense. We are happy that other fish farmers are realising the importance of providing their fish with quality feed. As government we will look into the issue of training more farmers in feed making but the only setback is in adequate funding,’’ said Saukani.

Reported by Joel Phiri