24 May 2013 06:20
LIKUNGANELO, 24 MAY (NAMPA) - Fish production at the Likunganelo fish farm, situated some 30 kilometres east of Katima Mulilo, has declined sharply in recent years.
The Likunganelo fish farm used to harvest up to four tonnes of fish in a year, but now produces less than one ton of fish a year.
The fish farm?s manager Kosmos Imukusi told this agency during a visit to the project on Friday that the poor production is mainly due to a change in the fish feed currently provided to the fingerlings.
He said they stopped providing the South Africa-imported wheat flour feed last year, and are now giving the baby fish mahangu millet instead.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources stopped importing wheat flour as fish feed from South Africa at the end of 2010, and instructed fish farms to make use of mahangu millet in order to reduce costs.
The mahangu millet is, however, not working well for the fish because it is too strong and thick and takes too long to be digested, resulting in the slow growth of the fish.
As a result, the fish farm last year harvested less than one ton of fish.
The low production has apparently also resulted in low morale and a lack of commitment from the 13 cooperative members, as they do not reap enough benefits from this farm.
Cooperative members currently spent only an average of five hours per day at the fish farm due to the poor benefits that they get from being there.
The abundant freshwater fish from Lake Liambezi also contributed to the decline in fish production at the fish farm, as communities here prefer harvesting and buying fish from the lake instead.
?Last year, the harvest was poor as we only harvested 3 000 fish,? Imukusi said.
He thus called on Government to consider introducing allowances for cooperative members at the farm so as to boost their morale, as this would subsequently also increase fish production.
Despite the low production, the farm has integrated aquaculture with poultry farming, as ducks and chicken are currently also seen here.
The Likunganelo fish farm currently has four breeding ponds, four nursery ponds and six production ponds.