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Making a living out of fish farming

Zimbabwe government recently registered over 240 fishing cooperatives in Masvingo in a move designed to improve household disposable incomes and grow the economy.

Provincial development officer in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Mr Joseph Mupinga said the registration of fishing cooperatives after training of members was aimed at boosting nutrition in rural communities while enhancing their household incomes.

“We have so far registered more than 240 fishing cooperatives after training members on how to run cooperatives, which are mostly concentrated in Chivi and Masvingo districts, with other districts such as Chiredzi and Gutu having a smaller share.

“We have done this to boost food and nutrition security at house and community levels, and to reduce poverty through opening avenues for improved income generation.”

Agriculture is one of the major contributors to the economy as Zimbabweans remain largely a rural people engaging in fish farming, crop production and livestock rearing.

The country has suitable warm climatic conditions ideal for fish farming, especially as we approach the summer season.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Zimbabwe has become the top fish-farming country in Sub-Saharan Africa, despite being a landlocked country.

Aquaculture promotes youth and women empowerment by providing them with invaluable skills that can allow them to not only secure a future of self-employment, but also considerably contributing to the growth of fish farming.

The World Food Programme estimates that about 1,5 million Zimbabweans, or about 18 percent of the population, are food-insecure. Nutritional value obtained from fish can help alleviate this situation.

Participation in fish farming leads to the country’s development through exportation of produce to the SADC regional market and other countries, thereby increasing incomes.

Aquaculture can be a turning point to Zimbabwe’s economic growth through creation of employment for youths. Government’s move is in line with Vision 2030 working towards an upper-middle income economy by 2030, following the successful completion of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme.

Together with the Aquaculture Zimbabwe Trust the Government can achieve the vision of becoming the leading developmental, networking front and a default information hub for sustainable and responsible aquaculture and fisheries systems to support rural livelihoods in Zimbabwe.

The Government is working to develop the aquaculture industry with the launch of US$432 million Command Agriculture in December 2017 that incorporates livestock, fisheries and wildlife.

However, the Government has to extend the programme to the remaining nine provinces to ensure development for the whole country.

Easy access to loans and grants should be provided to fish farmers as a subsidy to feeds and the construction of fish ponds.