Lilongwe — The People's Party (PP) Government says it will prioritize fish production as an important source of proteins to all Malawians and employment to communities living along the country's major lakes and rivers.
In is manifesto released ahead of the May 20 polls, the PP describes fisheries as one of the sub-sectors whose potential is yet to be fully exploited and one of the main export revenue earners in the country.
The PP observes that the initiatives that have been taken in the sub-sector have been largely ad-hoc and donor-driven hence, the fisheries subsector has been in a perpetual state of decline.
Reads the manifesto in part: "The PP will prioritize the fisheries sub-sector under the banner of the 'Malawi Fish for All Initiative'. The main goal of this initiative will be to promote sustainable fish production that will involve women and the youth.
"The party will also promote public private partnerships and investment in fish rearing in cages and ponds, and capture fisheries, credit facilities to fishing businesses through the Agricultural Development Bank and other alternative financial institutions and thereby creating 50,000 jobs over the next five years."
The manifesto discloses that the PP-led government will promote fish processing, value addition and marketing to increase fish exports from 500 tonnes to 5,000 tonnes by 2018 and facilitate training for research and extension staff in integrated fish farming, feed production, fish handling, processing and marketing.
PP government will also increase sustainable fish production from capture fisheries from 98,000 to 200,000 tonnes per annum by 2018 and promote development of small and large scale commercial aquaculture production through development of integrated fish farming schemes.
"PP will establish fish farmers' organizations and cooperatives at the grass root level, promote increased utilization of dam, irrigation canals and other water bodies for small scale aquaculture and promote crop-livestock-fish integrated farming; and encourage private investment in hatcheries continues the manifesto.
It further adds that if voted into power, the PP government will facilitate the development of appropriate infrastructure for handling, storage and processing of fish in key areas and establish regulatory body for Fisheries Industry for licensing and regulating the industry for fair fishing by all categories of fishermen.