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Fish farming improving East African nutrition
Tuesday, 11 November 2014 17:48
Mercy Phiri established her own family fish farm

Experts in Africa have said fish farming has helped improve nutrition for families, especially children.

Emily Phiri-Chinthu, a Member of Parliament for Nkhata Bay South in Malawi, said in an interview that alongside economic empowerment, many fish farmers were now “looking healthy”.

Fish is a valuable source of protein, which would otherwise not be available for some families, due to its expense at local markets, continued Phiri-Chinthu.

With ever-declining fish stocks in Lake Malawi, the associated increase in price at the market was shutting out many Malawians.

Medium-sized tilapia species were reportedly selling for around US$3, yet as much as 60 per cent of Malawi’s population was living on less than US$1 a day, according to government statistics.

“With the high levels of poverty you cannot expect Malawians to cough MK500 (US$1.40) to buy one fish when you have a family of seven people,” said Phiri-Chinthu.

Mauka Chirwa, a member of Malawi’s Fisheries Association, said fish farming had allowed some households to sell their farmed fish to buy maize or even beef.

Mercy Phiri, a mother of seven, said she got into fish farming after noting that the family was financially handicapped.

She and her husband now tend their own fishponds and no longer needed to buy fish from the market.

Raphael Mweninguwe

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