A TEAM of 30 Agritex officers from Matobo, Insiza, Chegutu and Mhondoro Ngezi districts recently completed an intensive fish farming training workshop at Chibero Agricultural College, as part of the Government’s commitment to harmonise and strengthen its thrust on research, education and extension services.
The training was organised by the Europen Union-funded Zimbabwe Agriculture Knowledge and Innovation Services (ZAKIS) in partnership with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement and a local firm, Profeeds.
A component of the Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme, the ZAKIS project focuses on knowledge management and is being implemented by Welthungerhilfe together with ICRISAT, CTDO, and Sustainable Agriculture Technology.
ZAKIS’ team leader Mr Waddilove Sansole said the ongoing project sought to harmonise and strengthen the delivery of the Government’s research, education and extension activities.
He said the project would carry out this work through Agricultural Centres of Excellence that have been established at Chibero Agricultural College on the outskirts of Harare and Matopos Research Institute in Matabeleland South.
He said the two centres were identified as the focal points for knowledge dissemination through workshops, demonstrations and innovation fairs, field days, and farmer training.
The two-day fish farming workshop at Chibero covered topics that included fish biology, feed management, fish health, harvesting, record keeping, quality assurance, marketing, and fish farming infrastructure.
In a recent interview, workshop facilitator and Profeeds fish farming expert Ms Mazvita Mufukare said the session was beneficial to the participants as it broadened their appreciation of the initiative spearheaded by the Government.
“Fish farming is fairly new in Zimbabwe, therefore, we are collaborating with ZAKIS and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement to disseminate knowledge,” she said.
“This training was designed to equip extension officers with knowledge on fish farming infrastructure and how to take care of fish.”
The workshop is expected to contribute to the diversification of Zimbabwe’s agriculture and enhance household incomes.
It will also improve the performance of the local fish value chain, as current production is insufficient to meet local demand.
One of the workshop participants, who is the head of Matopos Research Institute Mr Tendai Dominic Matekenya, said the training was an eye-opener in terms of fish farming.
“We will pass on this knowledge to farmers so that they can improve their operations,” he said. “As part of this programme, we are going to construct some fish ponds in Matopos so that we research fish production and cascade our findings to the community in line with our national mandate and role in ZAKIS.”
ZAKIS efforts are aimed at addressing concerns of pillar number two of the National Agriculture Policy Framework of 2019-2030.
The objective of the framework is to increase investment in agricultural research, development, technology, and extension systems, as well as to foster the adoption of climate and business-smart technology and innovation.