Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Reporter

FISHERY projects are changing the lives of numerous Chiredzi villagers in Masvingo, with many giving testimonies how such projects have transformed their livelihoods in the past couple of years.

The projects are financially supported by the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) through its Enhancing Community Resilience and Sustainability (ECRAS) to the tune of US$9,7 million.

The Government has of late encouraged farmers to take up fish farming, with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement, in March expanding to include a Fisheries portfolio to cater for the growing fish industry in the country.

Speaking during a field visit of some of the projects on Monday and Tuesday, villagers paid gratitude to these projects noting that they were going a long way in improving their standards of living.

Agritex Chiredzi district supervisor, Ms Sibusisiwe Tshuma said they were excited by the amount of communal farmers that were taking up fish farming in the district.

She said what encouraged them more was that their district was fast becoming a learning facility for other farmers in the country as most were being inspired by the resilience of Chiredzi villagers.

“We are both proud and excited by the response we have got in terms of establishing these fisheries. These villagers are transforming their livelihoods and as you see they are adding a resilience aspect where they are not relying on just one mode of production but their entire homesteads are now self sufficient.

“What further excites us is that initially no one thought these fisheries would survive in Chiredzi because our main source of water is underground water, which is salty therefore there was a little reluctancy but as you see, these farmers have proven everyone wrong,” said Ms Tshuma.

Mr Clever Dumela (52) of Bandama village, ward four in Chiredzi said what began as a past time, with just 315 fingerlings had grown into a massive venture with over 100 000.

He said with the help of ECRAS project he had managed to boost his fish production and he was now the envy of many in the district.

“Over the years I have managed to grow from one small pond but to three, with one big one where I estimate there are over 100 000 fingerlings.

“What made me realize the potential of this project is when last year I made over 10 000 Rands despite losing numerous fingerlings when my dams burst,” said Mr Dumela.

He said he was now adopting a number of follow on farmers who were taking after his initiative.

Ms Mavis Baye, also of Bandama village reiterated Mr Dumela’s sentiments further revealing that they had now been taught various mechanisms to produce feed for their fish in the event that they could not afford to purchase it.

“The issue is about the entire homestead being resilient, each and every production must be in a position to support each other, which is what this project is teaching us.

“We are no longer sitting back and wait for donor funding to bring us food hampers, we have now turned into self sufficient producers,” said Ms Baye.

To ramp up output, alleviate rural poverty and improve nutrition, the Government has initiated a number of aquaculture initiatives over the years.

In 2017, the Government launched the Command Fisheries Programme at the country’s largest inland dam, Tugwi-Mukosi.

The fisheries programme is expected to boost local fish production by 1,5 million tonnes per year when the available dams are used to capacity.

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Published On: Tue, May 11th, 2021

JUST IN: Fisheries change lives of Chiredzi villagers

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Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Reporter

FISHERY projects are changing the lives of numerous Chiredzi villagers in Masvingo, with many giving testimonies how such projects have transformed their livelihoods in the past couple of years.

The projects are financially supported by the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) through its Enhancing Community Resilience and Sustainability (ECRAS) to the tune of US$9,7 million.

The Government has of late encouraged farmers to take up fish farming, with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement, in March expanding to include a Fisheries portfolio to cater for the growing fish industry in the country.

Speaking during a field visit of some of the projects on Monday and Tuesday, villagers paid gratitude to these projects noting that they were going a long way in improving their standards of living.

Agritex Chiredzi district supervisor, Ms Sibusisiwe Tshuma said they were excited by the amount of communal farmers that were taking up fish farming in the district.

She said what encouraged them more was that their district was fast becoming a learning facility for other farmers in the country as most were being inspired by the resilience of Chiredzi villagers.

“We are both proud and excited by the response we have got in terms of establishing these fisheries. These villagers are transforming their livelihoods and as you see they are adding a resilience aspect where they are not relying on just one mode of production but their entire homesteads are now self sufficient.

“What further excites us is that initially no one thought these fisheries would survive in Chiredzi because our main source of water is underground water, which is salty therefore there was a little reluctancy but as you see, these farmers have proven everyone wrong,” said Ms Tshuma.

Mr Clever Dumela (52) of Bandama village, ward four in Chiredzi said what began as a past time, with just 315 fingerlings had grown into a massive venture with over 100 000.

He said with the help of ECRAS project he had managed to boost his fish production and he was now the envy of many in the district.

“Over the years I have managed to grow from one small pond but to three, with one big one where I estimate there are over 100 000 fingerlings.

“What made me realize the potential of this project is when last year I made over 10 000 Rands despite losing numerous fingerlings when my dams burst,” said Mr Dumela.

He said he was now adopting a number of follow on farmers who were taking after his initiative.

Ms Mavis Baye, also of Bandama village reiterated Mr Dumela’s sentiments further revealing that they had now been taught various mechanisms to produce feed for their fish in the event that they could not afford to purchase it.

“The issue is about the entire homestead being resilient, each and every production must be in a position to support each other, which is what this project is teaching us.

“We are no longer sitting back and wait for donor funding to bring us food hampers, we have now turned into self sufficient producers,” said Ms Baye.

To ramp up output, alleviate rural poverty and improve nutrition, the Government has initiated a number of aquaculture initiatives over the years.

In 2017, the Government launched the Command Fisheries Programme at the country’s largest inland dam, Tugwi-Mukosi.

The fisheries programme is expected to boost local fish production by 1,5 million tonnes per year when the available dams are used to capacity.

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JUST IN: Fisheries change lives of Chiredzi villagers