Mitigating the Impact Of HIV/AIDS through Viable and Sustainable Fish Farming (workshop)

 

On June 25th, 2013, 42 fish farmers from Chipata District attended a fish farming workshop hosted by four U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers from various villages in Chipata District, two Department of Fisheries Officers, and the Executive Director of PAZESA. The organizers of the workshop were the PAZESA Horticultural community, “Global Innovators’ Network for Rural Development in Africa” (GINRDA), Peace Corps volunteers and Department of Fisheries in Zambia. The purpose of this workshop was to educate current fish farmers on improved fishpond management methods and encourage these farmers to intensify and expand their fish farming operations to ensure that local farmers are engaged in pursuits that help generate income and promote food security and proper nutrition.
The participants were drawn from “Global Innovators’ Network for Rural Development in Africa” (GINRDA network) member organizations: MUZA Women’s Group, Alimi Amaziwana women’s group, SLID-ZAMBIA, Foundation for Economic Empowerment and Development (FEED), Kalichero Aids Trust, Kapatamoyo fish farmers, Chingaliwe Fish Farmers and the Chiparamba community.
                The facilitators of this workshop, PAZESA Executive Director, Paul Phiri and the Peace Corps Volunteers Bradley Wells and Melissa Stelter, covered the topics of the benefits of fish farming, composting and feeding the fishpond, pond stocking-rate, preventing predators, fishpond management, harvesting the pond, and marketing fish. After providing instruction on these topics, the farmers visited Paul Phiri’s nine fishponds where Paul led a Question and Answer session about what the participants had learned that day, as well as discussing pond bloom, water quality, and marketing strategies.
                This workshop encouraged fish farmers to continue working with their local Department of Fisheries officers, Peace Corps Volunteers, and Lead Farmers to improve fishpond management and to promote fish farming within their community  as a means of generating a sustainable income and promoting food security to help mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa. The farmers responded to this workshop enthusiastically, asking many questions, expressing a desire to expand their efforts, and were motivated by the visit to Paul’s nine fish ponds. Based on the success of this workshop, “Global Innovators’ Network for Rural Development in Africa” (GINRDA) through PAZESA hopes to conduct this Chipata District Fish Farmers Workshop on an annual or bi-annual basis with the Department of Fisheries, U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers, PAZESA Horticultural Community, and local farmers. Future plans include conducting an Annual Inter-Country Knowledge Exchange Exposure Visit for the rural grass-root farmers in southern Africa.
 
People seemed to enjoy the workshop as they participated very actively and asked many interesting questions denoting determination. Most farmers have expressed keen interest to start fish farming and 6 fish ponds sites have already been selected. The workshop has encouraged the existing fish farmers to improve on their fish pond management and marketing strategies as well as motivate other farmers to do fish farming. During the presentation on the benefits of fish farming, the Director for PAZESA Horticultural Community, Paul Phiri, said that “fish farming has comparatively less labor and combats child labor because you do not need to herd the fish just as you herd cattle. Neither do you sleep at the fish ponds (just as you sleep in a brooders house if you rear broilers) nor spray pesticides/herbicides. The profit percentage is more than six times that of poultry. The feed which can be used to feed 100 chicken for 1 week can be used to feed 1000 fingerlings for one month.” Farmers should therefore think of establishing their own fish farming venture to increase both household food security and income. “Fish farming is a very good innovative resource with which to improve one’s health especially in this trying era of HIV/AIDS. Fish provides a very good source of easily digestible protein which is good for the deteriorating immune system of people living with HIV/AIDS”, said Paul.
 
“Global Innovators’ Network for Rural Development in Africa” encourages all  AIDS service organizations donors and the entire philanthropic world to consider supporting fish farming in HIV programs so as to enhance positive living through improved nutrition and low cost but high yield sustainable income generation. “Teach a man to fish” other than preach dependency through food-handouts at home based centers.
 
We thank all the people and organization who supported this training by providing food, beverages, transport and stationery. Special thanks to MUZA Women’s Group, Tizawapeza Women’s Group, farmers from Kapatamoyo and Chingaliwe for your contributions. This was excellent involvement of the participants in resource mobilization at grass-root level. Keep it up! We also thank the Peace Corps Volunteers and Department of Fisheries for their support.
PAZESA Horticultural Community is looking forward to yet another exiting episode in the fish farming sector.
Enjoy the company!
Paul Phiri
Executive Director
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