The rise in demand for fish feed fuelled by the need to replace high protein fish meal with convenient, low cost feed has taken centre stage among farmers in Mutasa constituency in Manicaland province who have now taken maggot farming by storm.
The ‘black soldier fly’ which tracks its roots to South America and Kenya is being reared by farmers in Mutasa constituency in an attempt to produce maggots with 45 to 60 percent protein.
Expensive fish feed has downplayed high productivity as producers find it difficult to venture in a competitive protein market.
The single pilot project of maggot farming for fish feed purposes in Zimbabwe is stationed at Haggai farm in Mutasa.
Haggai farm manager Godfrey Chironda told TellZim News that maggot farming is the best alternative to expensive imported fish meal.
“The biggest cost in rearing livestock be it fish or cattle is feed. Maggot farming is the best alternative because it requires less operating costs but effective protein output,” said Chironda.
Commenting on the black soldier fly, Chironda said it produces high protein levels that can compete with imported fish feed.
“Black soldier fly larvae have higher protein content than fish feed made from soya beans. It’s a full package because you produce it on low expenditure yet enjoying high protein output. In terms of feeding we use kitchen waste, brew (masese) or compost to come up with high value feed,” he added.
Zimbabwe Fish Producers Association (ZFPA) chairperson Garikayi Munatsirei said the country is experiencing shortage of soya beans which is the chief ingredient of fish feed hence the need to venture into such projects.
“Reports show that soya output has been lowm, that in itself has weighed in on the production of fish feed. Such projects should be embraced entirely,” said Munatsirei.
Despite encountering a series of challenges Chironda advised fellow farmers in Manicaland to embrace this project considering that it’s low in expenditure but high in output.
“From January we encountered weather condition challenges. Drop of temperatures affects cycles of larvae, setting up resources was also a difficult feat for us but now we have a bigger shed and our knowhow has expanded. We encourage other farmers in the region, especially youth farmers to take up this project because fish farming is expanding at the moment,” he added.
Just like other growing fish farmers in Mutasa constituency, Haggai farm plans to venture into fish farming using maggot feed.
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Zimbabwe graced the project at Haggai farm citing the need for fish farmers and fish farming organizations to expand this project.
Fish4ACP Programme Management Unit Focal Person for Zimbabwe, Ms Yaiza Dronkers said FAO will evaluate progress on the projects come next year.
“Come January 8 next year, we will evaluate the progress of the project and give you feedback. The project is already being used for poultry purposes but for fish this is the pilot project in Zimbabwe,” said Dronkers.