NEW YORK – Government has embarked on command fish farming, largely targeting rural communities, to take full advantage of the country’s abundant water resources, a Cabinet Minister told a United Nations marine conference here on Wednesday.
Addressing a UN conference on oceans, seas and marine resources, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri said fish farming, if organised properly, had the potential to uplift the standards of living of marginalised communities, and help reduce poverty and food insecurity.
Zimbabwe has over 10 000 medium to large size dams – a far higher density of such water bodies than most countries – and yet these were not being fully exploited for fish farming.
But following the huge success of the country’s command agriculture programme this year, government is extending the scheme to the fisheries sector, with a pilot project earmarked for the newly built Tokwe-Mukosi dam in Masvingo.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said the Government will seek the partnership of both the private sector and non-governmental organisations in the command fishing farming programme, mainly for technical and management know how.
“My Government has embarked on a Command Fisheries Programme which will be largely driven by rural communities, mostly women and youths at small scale artisanal fisheries level. In order to make this programme sustainable, the government has partnered private sector and NGOs to provide technical expertise on breeding and management of fish stocks,” she said.
“Zimbabwe has extensive inland water resources with over 10 000 medium to large dams. In these inland water bodies, there are over 50 000 small scale artisanal fisheries with fishing permits. These small scale artisanal fisheries are contributing significantly to achievement of SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) goals – number 2 and 3 – which focus on ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and ensuring healthy lives and well-being for our people,” she added.
But Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said pollution of dams, lack of technology and marine management knowledge posed a serious challenge to the development of a robust fisheries industry in the country, and appealed for assistance. – New Ziana