By Elijah Phompho
Chambo Fisheries, located at Misesa along the Thyolo Road soon after Limbe which opened its doors in 2011 to breed Chambo tilapia fish, has appealed for government’s assistance in its expansion drive in order to meet the overgrowing demand for Malawi’s most loved fish both on the local and international market.
In an interview, Chambo Fisheries’ farm manager, Al Amin said the demand for fish in the country keeps increasing as stocks in Lake Malawi continue to deplete due to over-fishing, hence their plans for expansion in production.
Amin said if the government would come in and assist the fish farm with grants, the company shall be able to construct other fish farms in all the three regions of the country.
“At the moment we are able to produce 100 tonnes per year of the Chambo breed but our capacity is 800 tonnes per annum,” he said.
“We should be able to produce over 2,000 tones per year once we construct additional fish farms in other parts of the country, which shall enable us to meet both our local and international demand should government assist us.”
He further disclosed that Chambo Fisheries uses a hi-tech Bio-Floc Water recirculatory system, whose materials and equipment they had to import from outside the country — a development he said makes them to operate under huge production costs.
Another senior, Abdul Rahman Kalisinje concurred with Amin, saying their system is meant to run 24/7 using electricity and that power challenges also affect their production costs as they are forced to rely on genset.
On his part, Maurice Makuwira, senior deputy director in the Department of Fisheries, promised to look into Chambo Fisheries shortcomings, saying government is committed to promote the aquaculture industry in the country.
Meanwhile, a renowned fish farming expert in the country, Asaf Chijere has warned that the country risks further depletion of its fish stocks on Lake Malawi due to overfishing and changes in the biodiversity.
He called on the government and the private sector to invest in fish farming.
A subsidiary of Pacific Limited, the K4.5 billion Chambo Fisheries opened up for the local market in 2015 and has so far employed over 200 locals and trained over 600 local fish farmers, who are now self-employed in the aquaculture industry.