Expectations are high that small scale fish farmers in Nkhata-Bay District will increase production by 500 percent following a K178 million capital injection into the business.
The farmers, who operate in a cooperative called Kamuzu View, have indicated that they had to meet 30 percent of the investment (about K53.4 million) and the rest was acquired from the Agricultural Commercialisation (Agcom) Project.
Chairperson of the cooperative, Daniel Mwavuli, said they anticipate making an annual return of about K112 million once the expansion project is complete.
He said they are constructing 40 more dams to increase the number from the current 30.
“We used to harvest about 7.5 metric tonnes of fish but after we complete construction of the additional dams, we expect to be harvesting close to 45 metric tonnes. Our agreement with the off-taker Ilala Savanna Limited holds that we will be selling at K2500 per kilogramme. We could be making around K112 million,” Mwavuli said.
He, however, indicated that the major challenge that the farmers are facing is floating fish feed which is accessed in countries such as Zambia.
“Farmers are now getting serious with fish farming, which means a market for floating feed is there. It is our belief that companies would be established in the country to be producing fish feed locally,” Mwavuli added.
Pond aquaculture extension worker in Nkhata Bay, Chaona Mwale, said Mpamba is one of the EPAs doing well in fish farming.
“The common challenge that the farmers face is lack of capital. So we need more interventions so that farmers can reap more,” Mwale said.
According to reports, per capita fish consumption has decreased in recent years due to heightened demand and reduced supply.
The Agcom project is aimed at transforming smallholder agriculture from mostly subsistence to commercial.