By Elias Mhegera – The Tanzania’s leading think tank institution the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) has yet conducted another potential training in fish farming which has benefited stakeholders from various circles.
This is in its continued efforts to empower entrepreneurs and other people from all-walks -of life. Being one of the outreach programmes, 253 people benefited in multiple ways from watching documentaries, interactive lectures to exhibitions on the fish farms, ponds and tank fish keeping.
Inviting eagerly awaiting participants at the ESRF grounds in Dar es Salaam, Dr. Tausi Kida the executive director of this Foundation thanked the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for enabling this session but setting it as catalyst for yet other untapped opportunities.
“You should understand that the demand of fish protein in a year in Tanzania is 800,000 tones while the current capacity by available producers is only 400,000 tones meaning that more efforts are needed in this area,” she remarked.
Dr. Kida approved that commercial farming which has been supported by the ESRF to those already conducting such projects have been very fruitful due to the fact that the results are immediate. She promised that such projects will continue to get assistance at the national level.
As an official guest at the occasion, Ms. Ritha Maly from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries warned of the dwindling fish stocks due to environmental degradation. Thus, she counselled that this type of fish keeping should be taken seriously as a means of livelihood.
From the Bagamoyo Mbegani-Fishing Education and Training Agency (FETA) of the same ministry, was Emmanuel Maneno who challenged participants to venture into fish keeping projects not for nutritional purposes only but also for enhancing incomes of investors in this area.
He revealed that while the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recommendations are 17.2 kilograms per person per year, some countries like Egypt have surpassed this estimates and gone beyond up to 25 kilograms per year. This explains that Tanzania has to do more efforts in this bid.
He further elaborated that Egypt is the leading country in Africa in fish production and the second world largest producer. This has either been for mere consumption but also for sport fishing and tourism purposes.
From Nuru Farm-Bagamoyo the concern was the demand of technical skills, and the management of the polls as per revelations by the coordinator of this project Ms. Gloria Kavishe. She further warned of invasions by birds and other disruptive elements.
But Khumbo Kanthenga elaborated that the Ruvu Fish Farm Project which he represented started in 2014 with investors from Denmark who sourced funds from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), currently it has employed 15 permanent staffs, and the number could rise up to more than 100 for seasonal employees.
Moreover, he elaborated that this project has enabled other income generating activities in the area like, food vending, motorbike transportation and hence generally improving people’s lives in the surrounding areas.
Through its corporate social responsibility the farm has contributed to the community through renovation of classrooms and distributing desks to the nearby Msiwe Primary School.
From the National Service military wing was Lt. Kelvin Ngondo who informed participants on the utilization of cage aquaculture. Further he explained about the challenges of fish theft when local fishermen were catching less stocks that his camp at the Kamkekere cages.
He warned that this has made one big components to his institution to become making the surrounding community friendlier in order to protect their project. He highlighted that some of other challenges that they are facing are fish diseases and mobile islands which are a threat to their cages.
From the National Service headquarters Lt. Joseph Lyakurwa elaborated how the Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) functions. He emphasized that with the failure of the natural ways to reach the demands of fish, growing them in ponds become the cheapest way.
The advantages of the system are that they suit the purpose of both land and water scarcities as they are served through this type of fish growing.
Dr. Nazael Madalla from the Sokoine University of Agriculture noted on the importance of fish keeping in alternative methods like ponds and tanks due to the fact that there is a rapid increase of the population while the fish stocks are dwindling due to some reasons.
On the fish feed he emphasized on the basic knowledge in the type of foods, knowing the time for supplying food to fishes, and the best way of supplying such foods.
Dr. Bamwenda counselled of the market feasibility studies before one ventures into such projects. He noted that consumers have a series of concerns from one area to another ranging from the colour of the fish, smell and even health aspects.
He further elaborated about the nature of markets in the following three aspects: for individual consumptions like families, for group consumption like schools, miners, colleges, hospitals etc. But also for the international consumers, all these markets have different dynamics.
He reminded farmers to monitor carefully the packaging aspect for international markets. For that matter exporters must read regularly the internationally set standards including bans on certain categories of fishes.
For his part the UNDP representative Amon Manyama challenged fish farmers to look into other linkages, for instance while farmers grow soya beans for their fish stocks, but in the process these beans are demanded in many other utilizations.