Sunday, February 8, 2015
Work shop on "Aquaculture in Rural Value Chains and Trade: What Can Africa Learn from Its Own Success and from China?"
Aquaculture in Rural Value Chains and Trade: What Can Africa Learn from Its Own Success and from China?
I just finshed attending the above mentioned workshop under the Agriculture Technology Transfer Program (AgriTT) in Mangochi 4 to 6 February 2015. The issue of introducing exotic species in Malawi as a magic bullet to solve low productivity in aquaculture was resurrected. Malawian fish farmers are stuck with a local tilapia Oreochromis shiranus growing at a rate of 0.8g a day and with a maximum growth of 38cm, seems a night mare for this industry to compete with fellow farmers in China who are rearing Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus with a growth rate of 3-4g a day and a maximum growth of 60cm.
As a policy Malawi do not allow the farming of exotic species which includes O. niloticus, and at the same time Malawian famers are expecting to get productions compared to O. niloticus. Four things are important for any aquaculture industry to work: quality feed, quality seed, management and markets. Before we get hot headed with introducing O. niloticus to Malawi let us think of the four basics if they are in place. To the government side I say more laws with lack of wisdom may also kill the industry. To get more information on tilapia farming also consult weekly mag of SA.