Ministry moves to boost fish production

Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development says it is working on implementing strategies to boost sustainable fish production and marketing to ensure easy access by consumers.

Director in the ministry Patrick Chikungwa said this on Friday in Lilongwe on the sidelines of the WorldFish workshop on Nutrition-Sensitive Fish Agri-food Systems in Malawi.

He said government is looking at an ecosystem approach to increase production that will eventually bring down the cost of fish by promoting aquaculture for small farmers who use dams and technologies to produce fish for the market.

Chikungwa said: “As a ministry, we are putting in place programmes to restore chambo and other fish species. We have the Chambo Restoration Strategy which aims at restocking the fish.

“We are monitoring the fishing on our lake and we are coming up with mechanisms to regulate fishing on our lake.

“Government is encouraging the processing of fish. We are trying to woo various investors that can come for processing and value addition.

“We are seeing imported fish from other countries, we were not supposed to be importing fish with all the water resources that we have in the country.” 

WorldFish director Michael Phillips said there is need to invest in sustaining fisheries from the lakes and other aquatic resources in the country if Malawi is to grow fish supply.

He said: “Malawi needs to grow aquaculture or fish farming which is the means to grow fish production. To achieve this, there is need for supporting policies to attract private investors into aquaculture.

“Malawi needs to develop sustainable supply of fish seed and fish feed as well as the capacity of people to be able to manage the fish farms effectively.”

First-round agricultural estimates as released by the government show that fish production has registered a decrease from 202 092 metric tonnes to 169 140 metric tonnes, representing a 19.1 percent decrease.

The decrease, according to government, has been due to low catches, migration of fish and severe water stress.

On the other hand, aquaculture production has been on the increase from 7 876MT in 2018/2019 season to 8 766MT in 2019/2020 season for both large scale and small-scale aquaculture. WorldFish is an international research organisation that focuses on fish and aquatic foods for the sustainable improvement of aquaculture and world fisheries.

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