Smallholder fish farming
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CTA. 1989. Smallholder fish farming. Spore 21. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45057
A productive method of farming tilapia has been widely adopted in the Masasi district in south west Tanzania. The fish can be eaten by the smallholders, sold, or used in exchange for other commodities or services. Each smallholder fish farmer gets...
A productive method of farming tilapia has been widely adopted in the Masasi district in south west Tanzania. The fish can be eaten by the smallholders, sold, or used in exchange for other commodities or services. Each smallholder fish farmer gets advice and buys stock from a central fivepond demonstration site. This is the base for a Tanzanian fisheries office and a fisherman from Voluntary Service Overseas, who help with the planning, construction, stocking and management of each pond. The integration of the fish farm with current crops and livestock and water supply are the most important considerations. For a pond to be easy to manage it needs sloping grassed banks that reduce erosion and a screened inlet and outlet to prevent wild tilapia from entering. Because nets are expensive, it is preferable to harvest by hand, so it is necessary to be able to drain the pond completely. Hired workers are paid in fish. The fish are fed daily on waste products from the smallholding or'shamba': maize or rice bran, chopped pawpaw, cassava and banana leaves. The maize bran floats and, when the fish surface to feed, their size can be assessed. Tilapia breed so rapidly that overcrowding can occur. There are three ways of feeding fish in ponds: with agricultural waste, with duck droppings or pig manure. These waste products encourage the growth of phytoplankton, on which the fish feed as they decompose. Cow manure is put in the water in a woven basket to promote algae and plankton blooms, on which the young fish feed. Fed in this way, it is possible to harvest the tilapia after three to four months. However, harvest is usually a little later than this as many of the fish ponds are run as a sideline for the farmers who have other livestock to attend to. News that a pond is ready for harvest spreads quickly and villagers will collect at the pondside. Those fish farmers who have no other livestock will pay for manure with fish. One aspect of tilapia farming which the project hopes to develop is the integration of duck and chicken production. They would be housed above the water, hat their manure would fall into the pond and feed the algae and plankton. Using tilapia hybrids that produce all male offspring and sex reversal with testosterone to prevent breeding could produce large, uniform fish for the western market. But at present the more appropriate basic tilapia husbandry makes enough demands on the smallholders'time The one hundred ponds constructed by villagers with the help of Maliasili and VSO/ODA staff produced well over a tonne of fish per year, and more ponds are planned.