Written by Tamandani Hau:
Fish farmers under Vinthenga Fishing Product Club in the area of Senior Chief Malengachanzi in Nkhotakota are boasting of acquiring improved skills in modern fishing practices, besides helping in restoring the environment under the REFRESH Project.
The club’s Vice Chairperson, Agness Chibwana has described the project as profitable, saying members of the group outshine with their high-quality fish at the market, due to modern ways of processing and preserving fish.
This was said Thursday during the club’s visit, which according to REFRESH Project Deputy Chief of Party, Amakhosi Jere was aimed at strengthening and offering support in interventions needed by fishing processing clubs.
Chibwana said, ‘’We at first doubted the significance of the REFRESH project, but we are now reaping its fruits and more people are flocking to join our club, while some come to acquire knowledge on how best they can process and preserve their fish’’.
REFRESH Project Deputy Chief of Party Jere said, the project is encouraging fishing communities among others, to engage in alternative sources of livelihoods by supporting fish farming, while advocating for modern fish processing and preservation methods and restoring the environment.
He said, “There’s now a clear observation from communities on how they are coping up with modern fish processing and conservation methods as they are engaging in a sustainable approach such as the use of modern solar tents and smoking kits’’.
Jere added that they have partnered Techno Self Solutions that support fish farming communities in a business perspective, to help restore stock levels.
Finance and Administrative Manager for Extra Think Innovations, which purchases fish from Vinthenga Fish Processing Clubs, Thokozani Fikison says the project has changed traditional perceptions of fishermen and accelerated use of recommended fishing gears.
He said, “With the high-quality fish the club is offering, we’ve now engaged other partners to purchase fish from the club and this will go a long way in expanding their market base”.
REFRESH Project which implements its interventions with financial assistance from USAID, is working in all districts along Lake Malawi with an aim of restoring the environment.