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Aquaculture Hopes for HIV Affected Households

MALAWI - Nathan Phiri, a fisherman for 50 years, will explore the possibility of embarking on integrated agriculture aquaculture. This is a combination of both fish farming and agricultural activities, writes Charles Mkoka in Malawi's Daily Times.

Using water gathered from rain to grow fish, farmers later irrigate crops using the water. Manure from chicken and ducks cultivated in the farms is used to fertilise the crops.

The concept is managed by HIV-affected families who, in most cases, come from female-headed households. They can easily assign siblings to feed the fish and perform other tasks as well. Families irrigate crops using water from the ponds. Fertilisers are readily available from chicken droppings, according to Memory Ndasowa, a farmer who benefits from the project.

Both farmers and fishermen are beginning to explore opportunities in agricultural aquaculture because of declining catches in traditional fisheries. Over fishing and sedimentation has resulted in reduced fish stocks in Lake Malawi's waters.

Lake Malawi is Africa's biggest rift valley freshwater lake. Three countries share it: Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. The three are members of the South Africa Development Community (Sadc).

Agreement

As a strategy to promote sustainable development, the three Sadc countries ratified a protocol on shared watercourses. The agreement aims to maintain a proper balance between resource development for a higher standard of life and conservation of the environment.

However, with massive pressure on the lake resources has led researchers to explore other viable alternatives. One of these is to empower communities to manage their own fish resources in a sustainable manner, thus relieving pressure exerted on the lake's stocks.

The many water-related challenges faced by southern Africa today are proving difficult to solve with conventional single-sector approaches to water resources management. The solutions to the problems of drought, floods, water-borne diseases, degradation of the environment, poverty in rural areas and competition over water, among others, require more coordinated management approaches.

Source: Daily Times

Ellen Hardy

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