Beneficiaries of fish farming programs under the SUN MCDP II in chief Chibwika’s chiefdom of Mwinilunga district have expressed happiness that the program is already yielding significant results that are addressing the core objective of the program which is to correct malnutrition and end child stunting.
In Chibwika ward Simeon Kachiza who owns five (5) fish ponds, appreciates the SUN II program saying it has empowered them with knowledge on how best they can manage their fishponds for better fish growth and yields.
“The intervention by SUN II project to help us in fish farming is a timely and welcome one, I am able to harvest about thirty (30) kilograms of fish per pond which helps me to feed my family and take care of other requirements at my home, and our livelihood has greatly improved”. He said.
Speaking during a visit by District Nutrition Coordination Committee (DNCC) and Communication and Advocacy (C&A) members to the area, Mr. Kachiza said fish farming is a manageable and profitable venture for anyone to engage in as fish can be grown using homemade feed like cow dung and chicken manure.
He added that apart from its high nutrition value for home consumption, fish farming is a sure economic venture which can bring financial income to a household owing to its high demand and readily available market.
Mr. Kachiza who received two hundred (200) fingerlings under the SUN II program said that he has seen a lot of progress with regards the growth of his fish despite the security challenge at the ponds.
And Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock veterinary assistant William Chirwa said ten beneficiaries of fish fingerlings in the area have been trained on fish pond construction, fish preservation, fish feeding techniques and manufacturing of homemade fish feed using locally available materials.
“Fingerlings distributed to beneficiaries are growing well. Once harvested, the fish is mainly used for home consumption to avert malnutrition while excess fish is sold”. said Mr. Chirwa.
Meanwhile another beneficiary in Kamapanda ward Evenness Shimishi and her husband Timothy Kafwafwa said the training they received from the department of Fisheries and Livestock has enabled them to manage and grow their fish fingerlings to table size and are using it for home consumption.
“With the support that we received we are ready to dig more ponds so as to increase the amount of fish we keep”.
The couple has however requested SUN II project to consider supporting fish farmers with fish stock that can lay eggs as opposed to the sex reversed ones for continuity purposes because fish fingerlings are hard to access in the area.
Kamapanda agriculture camp extension officer Sunday Chabakani said the community has embraced the program as it is giving them an alternate source of proteins which will help to curb malnutrition in the area.
Mr. Chabakani said more community members are willing to participate in the fish farming program if only they could be empowered with the required resources.
He has since called on the SUN II program to supply more fingerlings so that more farmers who are willing to participate in the programme can benefit further advising that fingerlings for beneficiaries be increased from the current three hundred (300) to five hundred (500) per beneficiary.