Fisheries and aquaculture are an inseparable part of Malawi’s food supply and social cohesion. The fisheries provide an important source of income earnings for the country and provide opportunities for economic growth.
Fish is traditionally a large part of the Malawian diet, but its populations and consumption have declined due to overfishing in our lakes and rivers.
“Introducing fish farming to farmers in Malawi can economically empower the rural communities as well as their health status if they can continue working hard in taking care of the fish ponds which we brought to them last year,” said Islamic Relief Head of Programs Sherifa Mia when witnessing the first harvesting of the fish at Mtemaumo Irrigation Scheme.
Islamic Relief Malawi is one the Islamic Charitable organizations which is trying very harder to make sure that the good and cheaper diet containing in fish is still available at all time through the fish farming which the organization is spearheading at Chadzunda and Mpemba in the area of Traditional Authority Nsomba in Blantyre.
Mia: The project aims at empowering women
It is a Middle East funded Projected worthy 200 thousand US Dollars targeting to the Irrigation Schemes which are also doing fish farming including Mandimu and Mtemaumo Irrigation Scheme.
“We started this project in July last year and we trained the members of the community on how they can construct fish ponds, how they can take care of the fish as well as how they can harvest and I am satisfied with how the project is being ran since yesterday I was at Mandimu Irrigation Scheme where they have harvested over 60kgs of fish and today we are here where we also expect to harvest over 40kgs because we started a little bit late comparing to Mandimu Irrigation,” she said.
some of the species harvested in these schemes
This project seems to be beneficial to the farmers since they expect to use the money from the fish farming buying agriculture inputs like fertilizer, seeds and other chemicals as well as economically empowering their families.
“The members of the community will benefit from this project since after selling the harvested fish, they will share the money among the club members and they can use the money to buy other resources and taking care of their families on the other hand they will find luxury in fresh which is the source of protein and part of the money can be deposited to their account which they opened for future use,” said the Head of programs.
Islamic Relief Malawi is not only leaving the farmers alone to struggle when it comes to marketing, it also assists these farmers to make sure that they have secured reliable markets to sell their fish as soon as they have harvested.
Baneti: We are very grateful to Islamic Relief with this kind of development to us
Currently the organization on behalf of the farmers secured fish markets at Superior Halaal, Chipiku and Sanna cash and Carry which are in the city of Blantyre.
Speaking on behalf of the farmers, Mtemaumo Chairlady Feliya Baneti said she is expected to make more profits from this farming and she is very optimistic that this farming will change their status both economic and health wise.
“Being the first harvest, we have harvested more fish than what we expected and we believe come next harvesting time we will harvest more than this.” She said.
This is the sustainable development which can bring bread and butter on daily basis but it needs to be taken care of and this can happen if unity exists among the club members.
“We are always united when we want to work on these fish ponds because we know that it is our only reliable source of income, we believe that we can teach our children and even building good houses with the money generated from this project and we want to assure Islamic Relief that we will work tirelessly towards this development,” said the Chairlady with her smiling face.
She also advised others to engage in fish farming saying it is beneficial and the one of the tools which can be used to fight against poverty and malnutrition in the country.