By Manasse Nyirenda:
Fish farmers in Rumphi have hailed fish farming programme for contributing towards the uplifting of their livelihoods.
In an interview on Monday, one of the fish farmers, Regina Msiska, 54 of Chitawula Village in the area of Traditional Authority Kachulu said she and her husband used to struggle to provide for their six children for many years.
She however excited to that her households livelihood has improve following her enrolment with Social Cash Transfer Programme(SCTP) in 2018.
After receiving my first payment through SCTP, I immediately ventured into small businesses such as selling tomatoes, onions and beans.
My business grew and in 2019, I developed interest in fish farming which has transformed my life, said Msiska.
She says that she has two ponds and I up to K300, 000.00 per harvest from the two ponds.
“I now own an iron sheet roofed house which is well furnished with beds and mattresses,” she said.
Msiska said that she has raised over K1 million since she ventured into fish farming and she has invested some of the money in a barbershop and a groceries shop which her children run in Mzuzu.
Another farmer, Lekani Muomba, a widow aged 48 from Jungubawa Village of the same area says she is hopeful that her fish will change her households economic status.
She said she started embarked in fish farming business two years ago using money which she realised from selling tomatoes, a business which she started using seed money from SCTP.
“My husband died in 2006 leaving me with the responsibility of taking care of our five children and myself. I used to struggle to meet our daily necessities until 2018 when I was registered as a beneficiary of SCTP, said Muomba.
She said that she is able to provide the basics including paying school fees for her children expressed hoped that the children will have a bright future.
I started with one pond and I am planning to construct one to maximize profits so that I buy iron sheets for my house and enrol my son for a course once Malawi School Certificate of Examination (MSCE) results are out, she said.
District Fisheries Officer for Rumphi, Edward Mkandawa said fish farming has great potential to rescue many people out of poverty.
He says apart from being of nutritional value to the farmers themselves, fish is a reliable and sustainable source of income besides promoting self-employment.
Fish farming does not require a large portions of land. I can only advise the farmers to always acquire fingerlings from recognised suppliers and always ensure that they drain their ponds after harvesting, said Mkandawa.