Ethiopia: Aquaculture Ensuring Food Self-Sufficiency

Zegeye Tsige has been residing in Agotu Anema Kebele of Oromia State. With his six children, Zegeye has been fully engaging in subsistence farming for long. During his childhood, he used to enjoy fishing in the nearby catchment area. When he grew up, he wants to be engaged in fish husbandry in his compound.

Initially, he went to his Woreda agriculture bureau and Wondo Genet Forestry and Natural Resource College administrations in search of professional assistance. The two offices provided him with training. Next to that, together with daily laborers, he dug the area braced for fish husbandry. He spent 5,000 birr to prepare the pool that has 1.5 meter depth and 12 square meter breadth. An NGO working in the area brought him fingerling from Addis Ababa, Sebeta area. He has now turned to fishery.

And he has started breeding, having 200 fingerlings last year. Apart from fulfilling his family's daily consumption, it has enabled him to supply fish for market.

"If somebody asked me to buy fingerlings, I am prompt enough," he said. Now, the pool has filled with fishes, approximately 5,000 fishes are found in his pool.

Zegeye uses the water to plant vegetables for his kitchen garden in addition to the fish farming. Behind all this, Wondogent College professionals assist him to be more productive in fish breeding. Market linkage is not worry to him. "I can supply fishes to the college community. I want to expand my farm and I have been setting up another pool for further production."

Observing the success of Zegeye, farmers residing in the nearby Kebele are paying a visit to Zegeye's fish breeding center and drawn best practices. They are now showing tendency to engage in fishery sector.

Samuel Bekele is working as Community Service Coordinator at Wondogenet College. The college has been providing community services since 2007 E.C. "So far, we have been providing material, professional as well as financial assistance to ten farmers who are already engaged in fish husbandry. As fish is highly demanded by the community, the college has planned to expand the practice through making more farmers participate in the farming."

As some studies conducted on fish husbandry, Ethiopia has untapped potential for fish breeding. Especially, Wondogenet area is blessed with water which flows the whole year. The soil in the area has a capacity of holding water. To make aquaculture practical, availability of water and soil that can hold water are two determinant factors.

The college has now been introducing integrated aquaculture activities to the nearby farmers. Farmers can produce fish within limited space. Tilapia (Qoroso) fish for instance can be ready for use within six months interval. Thus, farmers will be productive if they are ready to apply best practice of others. The College has integrated fish production with other agricultural activities. As the water is highly nutrient, farmers can be used the water for irrigation purpose without applying extra fertilizer.

Indeed, so far, due to various reasons, Ethiopia has not exploiting fish resources. Understanding this, the government again set to invest in it taking as part of growth and transformation plan II. Accordingly, it has planned to increase fish production from 50,000 to 96,000 ton using various water bodies such as lake, dams, rivers, other small water bodies and practicing on aquaculture, and register15 per cent of annual average growth, according to the Ministry of Livestock and Fishery. For this to happen, producing 39,000 ton of fish annually from major lakes in a sustainable manner is one of a major plan. Improving fish production capacity of eight dames by building their capacity through supplying the necessary input and increases their production capability from 5,889 to 11,900 ton through registering 15 percent average annual growth. Increasing small water bodies' fish production capacity from 2,243 to 19,000 ton of fish by registering 54 per cent per year is expected in the second GTP II.

And it also planned to gain additional rivers fish production and raise it from 2,100 to 10,700 by registering 39 per cent annual growth. Developing aquaculture production from 85 to 15,000 tons thereby increasing average pool fish production capacity from3.6 to 25 hectares of land per year.

Nations fish resource potential is not yet exploited. Recent sample survey and unpublished studies indicated that natural fish accumulation has not been exceeding from 95,000 tons. However, the ecosystem is comfortable for aquaculture. Especially, as Ethiopia's ecosystem is cozy for fish production, aquaculture would be reliable source of fish production.

More From: Ethiopian Herald

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