Women seen taking lead role in fish farming

25Sep 2016
Bilham Kimati
Guardian On Sunday
Women seen taking lead role in fish farming

FISHING and fish farming (aquaculture) sector is often considered a male dominated undertaking due to high levels of labour and investments.

Women engaging in fishing and aquaculture, a sector often dominated by males.

Women's role and participation has often been ignored partly due to socio-cultural taboo against them.

However findings have established that women are equally capable of comparable delivery in the whole chain of fish farming from pond construction fingerlings sorting, pond stocking, feeding, sex identification and fish harvest.

Gloria Kavishe is among 26 finalists who attended a short course on fish farming offered by the Fishing Education and Training Agency (FETA) based in Bagamoyo, Coast region.

“I ventured in fish farming with much scepticism because I lacked proper knowledge. I started with 2,000 fingerlings but today I have 20,000 of them on my farm in Bagamoyo.

So far this has proved a lucrative entrepreneurship with less hassle compared to poultry. I keep tilapia (perege). I am looking forward to keeping catchfish (kambale),” Kavishe said.

Commenting on fish tolerance to diseases, Kavishe said it was not common for fish to suffer from various diseases only that once detected to have body fungus, the treatment was simple which required addition of small amount of salt and lime.

“There is no reason whatsoever for women to shun fish farming because after gaining knowledge as some of us have already gained, fish farming becomes easier and professional with maximum profit. Let women come forward and join the entrepreneurship to fight poverty pragmatically,” she insisted.

Fish farmers in Tanzania, she added, have formed an association known as Tanganyika Fish and Agriculture Marketing Cooperative Society (TAMCOT) and all members are invited.

Gosbert Blandes, the former legislator for Karagwe was among the finalists. He was equally delighted to have acquired knowledge in fish farming, saying that if people want to create wealth with guaranteed safety, aquaculture was the best option.

“I did politics for many years and served as a lawyer for quite some time but I have come to discover that fish farming can lift up family economy.

My wife and I attended this seven-day fish farming training which has proved exceptionally important and relevant. With fish farming, one can easily make Tsh300 million in less than a year. I am determined to embark on fish farming back home,” Blandes explained.

Commenting on the government role to engage more people in aquaculture, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Development and Fisheries, Dr Mary Mashingo said women had nothing to fear.

“Fish farming is an entrepreneurship with guaranteed market. Human global population is growing and the number of fish consumers is equally growing.

People prefer fish to red meat therefore fish farming is an inviting lucrative sector that can accommodate thousands of entrepreneurs. Let women come forward for serious engagement,” Mashingo explained.

The World Bank Report (2013) on Prospects for Fisheries and Aquaculture to 2030 indicated that the global population is expected to grow to 9 billion by 2050, the reality which remains to be a daunting challenge in feeding.

It has been established that fish can play a major role in satisfying the palates of the world’s growing population to meet the food security needs.

Already, fish represents 16 percent of all animal protein consumed globally, and this proportion of the world’s food basket is likely to increase as consumers with rising incomes seek higher-value seafood and as aquaculture steps up to meet increasing demand.

The report further reveals that aquaculture has grown at an impressive rate over the past decades. It has helped to produce more food fish, kept the overall price of fish down, and made fish and seafood more accessible to consumers around the world.

That’s why greater investment is needed in the industry for new and safer technologies, their adaptation to local conditions, and their adoption in appropriate settings.

The report spoke about the substantial potential for many developing countries to capitalize on the opportunity that the seafood trade provides.

The Chief executive Officer (CEO) of FETA, Yahya Mgawe spoke about the country’s academic response towards effective utilization of marine resources and spread of knowledge about aquaculture through training.

“For the last 50 years we only had two fishing education institutes, namely Mbegani and Nyegezi in Mwanza.

The government has made impressive progress in the establishment of more related learning centres of Kibirizi in Kigoma, Rorya in Mara region, Mikindani in Mtwara, South Mwanza among others with the aim to produce a good number of professionals in various related fields,” Mgawe explained.

Clarifying on the kind of courses provided in Fishing education, Mgawe said the disciplines offered include Fish Production, Quality Assurance and Marketing, Marine Technology, Fish Farming, Deep sea fishing technology (master fisherman) among others.

“Tanzania is heavily endowed with marine resources which should be exploited properly through use of modern fishing boats which should be operated by skilled/trained personnel as we (FETA) do here. The aim is for the nation to make a step further in professional fisheries and aquaculture to satisfy the growing demand.

Most of the natural fish sources are almost depleted and the gap cann be bridged through fish farming and deep sea fishing. The market is extensive. Tanzania also needs to meet the required international standards for both export and local consumption,” he observed.

The CEO spoke about the newly introduced quick fish-farming education sharing method known as Mobile Training Units that reached out the community to share the basic knowledge in fish farming and related information for the best results.

With reference to the wide fish market as revealed by the quoted World Bank Report, seafood demand from China for e example, the single largest market for seafood, has grown substantially, and its influence on the global fish markets and trade has intensified.

China’s per capita fish consumption grew to 33.1 kilograms per year in 2010, at an annual rate of six percent between 1990 and 2010. So far, due particularly to growth in aqua-culture production, fish production in China has kept pace with the growth in consumption demand from population and income growth.

While Asia accounted for 88 percent of world aquaculture production by volume in 2011, China alone accounted for 62 per-cent. Aquaculture now represents more than 70 percent of the total fish produced in China. This shows how reliable the global fish market is.