TENDAI BHEBE IN BULAWAYO
Government has raised concern over low uptake of fish farming in Zimbabwe as the country is producing 20 000 tonnes of fish a year against a national demand of 40 000 tonnes.
In an interview, chief director at the Agricultural and Rural Development Advisory Services Directorate Department, Obert Jiri said the government was working on reviving the fish industry.
“We also have started big in the fisheries space so we now have a fisheries and aquatic resources department which is responsible for growing the fish industry and making sure that we have enough fish in the country. Currently most of the fish production is happening at Lake Kariba,” Jiri said.
He said 90% of the fish was coming from Lake Kariba and the “situation is dire in terms of the availability of fish meat to the general populace”, adding that the government was targeting to stock 300 dams this year across the country under the Presidential Dam Stocking programme.
Fish production is a big business and we encourage the young people and young farmers together with those who have no access to land to know that there is a big land resource which is there in the water,” Jiri said.
Last year, government said Matabeleland fish farmers will benefit from the fisheries programme after 12 dams were targeted for the presidential fisheries programme that will involve 50 000 farmers.
Before the programme, the Matabeleland region had just over 20 fish farmers, but the number has since increased to 130 with more expected to come on board as interest in fish farming continues to increase.
Responding to chiefs at an indaba in Bulawayo last week, Minister of Lands ,Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Development, Anxious Masuka said “:We have a programme for you (chiefs) under the presidential community fisheries scheme 8.0. Fish farming has emerged as one of the fastest growing food producing sectors whose rollout can be done efficiently and cost effectively.”