Minister stresses joint fish, plant farming to boost income

04Aug 2020
Michael Sikapundwa
The Guardian
Minister stresses joint fish, plant farming to boost income

MINISTER for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, has called upon Tanzanians to invest heavily in aquaponics—the practice of farming fish and plants together in one integrated system.

Minister for foreign Affairs, Prof, Palamagamba Kabudi (C) stresses importance of investing Aquaponic system at residential areas, pictured today when during inspection of Agricultural projects at Nanenane trade fair in 2020, Morogoro region .(photo:Michael Sikapundwa)

The system involves a combination of aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.

The minister made the call recently in Morogoro Region where, among other things, he officiated at this year’s Nane Nane exhibitions taking place in the region. The agriculture show commenced on Saturday.

Similar agricultural exhibitions have been organized all over the country culminating in the national holiday this Saturday.

Each year on Nane Nane week, important contribution of farmers to the Tanzanian economy is celebrated.

Highlighting some advantages of the aquaponics system, Prof Kabudi said  amount of time needed to practice aquaponics versus other forms of food gardening is much less, addin that the system also uses less water than any other form of gardening.

“It is high time Tanzanians particularly farmers engaged in the aquaponics gardening which is completely organic so as to earn additional income for their families” said Prof Kabudi.

However, it was revealed that aquaponics gardening requires high investment with data showing that farmers need to have in place more than 3mn/- as minimum capital.

Dr Anna Ngumbi from Livestock Training Agency (LITA) Morogoro Campus encouraged Tanzanians to embrace in the technology, saying due to current technology advancement around the world, the technology became cheaper to afford.

“Currently, the minimum investment capital required for aquaponics is 2.7mn/-, which is affordable compared to previous costs up to 5mn/- when the technology was first launched in Tanzania," she said.

Supporting Dr Ngumbi’s arguments, project manager for Aquacom Limited, Jonas Leonard, called upon Tanzanians to invest in the new form of farming, further urging people to adhere to guidelines so as to make good profits.

"We advise farmers to start by raising Nile tilapia due to its high demand in the market," he said.

He further advised those interested in the system to start modestly and grow gradually depending on the demand by beginning with small venture enough to feed family and later community.

"Aquaponics is also essential to ensure food security in the country while also the source of income for households since food can be grown anywhere: indoors, outdoors and in greenhouses," Leonard said.

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