Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Farming Reporter
A BULAWAYO-BASED agriculture consultancy firm, Health Excellence held a two-day fish production workshop in Bulawayo last week in a bid to promote the breeding of aquatic animals at household level for revenue generation.
Health Excellence programmes co-ordinator Mr Dingaan Ndlovu said residents stand a chance of generating income as well as improving their household food security upon embarking on backyard fish production.
“We want to promote fish as a commodity so that people can realise that they can make a living and money out of it. Also we are being activated and motivated by the Government, which has launched the Command Fisheries Programme and its really going out sowing fingerlings-the small fish in dams so that these multiply and communities can also propagate from there,” said Mr Ndlovu.
The programme, which is spearheaded by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks), has already been launched in Masvingo, Manicaland, Matabeleland North and South, Mashonaland East, Central and West.
Mr Ndlovu said city and town dwellers could embark on thriving fish production project through turning their disused swimming pools into ponds or buying portable ponds and placing them within their yards.
“There are a lot of disused swimming pools here in the City’s low density suburbs. We are saying instead of letting them lie redundant like that. Why not re-fill them with water and they (residence) learn that fish can actually be a productive sector by converting those swimming pools into fish ponds.
“You can be producing for selling mature fish for food or you can actually identify to breed fingerlings and sell to the community as seed. So where the space is small we encourage people to buy portable ponds. They are very small you can even put them in your veranda and do fish…so fish can be done everywhere,” said Mr Ndlovu.
He said the workshop sought to promote the breeding of fish fingerlings to avert the prevailing shortage in the city.
“In Bulawayo we don’t have sources of fingerlings. People are buying from Kariba some are buying from Masvingo and some as far as Harare. So what we are saying after completing this training we are going to identify some individuals here in Bulawayo who will produce those fingerlings . . .,” said Mr Ndlovu.
A resident, Mr Gary Staddon from North End suburb who turned his swimming pool into a fish pond late last year is now operating a thriving fish and fish fingerlings project.
“My focus has changed from growing fish in the pool to breeding, now I am breeding fingerlings inside a small room with four fish tanks and I want to get to a level of producing 8 000 to 10 000 fingerlings per week but in the pool the fish are growing up. I think there is a very big market and the potential is there for one to grow, even if you have a small pool at the back of your house…in my pool I can harvest a tonne (of fish) every six months,” said Mr Staddon.