Members from the fish farming and agro based industries gathered in Mutare this past Friday for a Tilapia value addition launch dubbed FISH4ACP Strategy Launch meant to achieve sustainable development of tilapia production and value addition in Zimbabwe.
The launch, spearheaded by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) is meant to develop sustainable farming models with a view to increasing farming efficiencies, increase product value and environmental performance, building resilience to environment change and strengthening farmer livelihood support systems.
With Zimbabwe having over 10700 water bodies and with warm temperatures in most parts of the year tilapia fish farming appears to be the ideal model.
While speaking during the event Fish4ACP Program Management Unit Focal Person for Zimbabwe, Ms Yaiza Dronkers, who is based in Italy said that the strategy launch targets a set of objectives that have been derived from periodical field studies.
“The strategy is meant to bring commercial awareness to subsistence fish farmers, bring about sustainable development for small scale fish farmers and aquaculture purveyors all over Zimbabwe. Nutrition enhancement and poverty eradication are also important aspects to be tackled. This step is meant to effect dialogue between artisanal fish farmers, commercial fish producers, stakeholders, government and other stakeholders so that fisheries and aquaculture sustainability is achieved.”
As the world awaits World Fisheries Day commemorations on the 24th of November Zimbabwe is among 12 countries chosen for the enhancement of fisheries.
Director of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Mr Milton Makumbe commended the selection of Zimbabwe to be among the 12 ACP groupings citing that government is in full support of the programme.
“Government recognises the important role played by fish farming and aquaculture in Zimbabwe. With such a project food security, employment creation. The government is aware of the economic abilities of fish farming and aquaculture not forgeting that Zimbabwe has over 10000 water bodies,” said Makumbe.
An official declaration which seeks to enroll fish farmers as value chain actors was signed at the event by Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development representative Mr Milton Ncube, Chair for Farmed Tilapia Value Chain Working Group Mr Sokonia Kaitano, Vice Chairperson for Tilapia Value Chain Working Group Afra Nanhanga and Zimbabwe Women and Youth in Agribusiness Trust (ZWAYAT) Champion Mrs Cecilia Muchechesi.
The day was also graced by two field trips to Spring Glory fish farm and Haggai farm (Mutasa constituency), a farm that produces black soldier flies and fish feed in form of developed lava.
With 94% of fish consumed in Zimbabwe being tilapia and with fish consumed standing at 2,6 kg the strategy is meant to change for the better.
In an official statement dispatched to media attention FAO supports programmes aimed at sustainable management of aquatic resources in Zimbabwe and in the subregion.
The statement read, “We have an on-going Technical Cooperation Project signed between the Ministry of Environment and FAO on the management of artisanal and small-scale fisheries of the Zambezi basin. The focus of this TCP is to strengthen the current community-based management systems, and co-management approach. This cooperation is applying the FAO Inland Ecosystem approach to Fisheries management in the Zambezi river basin, which has been developed and applied with successes in Southern Africa since 2018. This instrument is also being promoted through regional cooperation in management and development of fisheries and aquaculture between Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.”