Honde Valley fish farmers diversify operations

By Kenias Chivuzhe

GOVERNMENT’S drive to promote fish production has inspired farmers in rural communities, with a Honde Valley-based farmer venturing into fish feed production to meet the growing demand in his community.

Honde Valley-based farmer Garapo who is into fish production has diversified operations to include fish feed production.

Fortune Garapo, who initially set up a fish feed processing plant to supply his ponds has scaled up production due to increased demand in the community.

“I am on the stock feed production for fish. We are producing floating pellets from a specialised machine. The pellets are ideal for tilapia fish commonly known as Kariba breams. I started the project to feed my fish but due to supply gap I am now supply the local community,” said Garapo.

He also spoke on the advantages of feeding fish with floating pellets as opposed to food that sinks to the bottom of water bodies.

“We don’t want pellets that sink as the behavior of tilapia is to feed from above. The plant can produce a tonne per day. We are producing both the starters and the growers. We use soya and wheat as ingredients for the feeds. For the starter meal, the protein content is high whereas for growers it is lower,” he said.

Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Acting Director Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Mr Milton Makumbe highlighted that the increase in fish production has opened opportunities for investments in fish feed production.

“As government, we want to promote fish production. We want to see all provinces in the country having companies that manufacture fish feeds. The highest cost of fish production is on the feeds hence the need to look at measures to reduce the costs of feeds. We also want to see how best we can help increase fish production in the country,” said Mr Makumbe.

As part of efforts to promote the growth of the fish industry, government is stocking 1 200 dams with 50 000 fingerlings beginning this summer, with dam committees comprising councillors, traditional leaders, villagers and Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) representatives being put in place to manage the projects.