BY BLAIR MHONE
President Lazarus Chakwera has commended efforts being undertaken by the Mzuzu Agricultural Development Division (MZADD) in empowering smallholder farmers to take up aquaculture.
The president made the sentiments after he inspected fish ponds and dairy farmers in Emsizini under TA Kampingo Sibande and Zobwe under TA Mtwalo in Mzimba district.
The president said: “You may appreciate that crop farming plays a great role in fish and livestock farming in terms of feed production. We are therefore obliged to look at the whole Agriculture system and integrate all components to facilitate job and wealth creation.
“In Chauluma Village, I met Laness Kaunda Chavula who is breeding catfish and chambo in seven ponds. Despite the struggles she encounters with animal feed costs, she is doing quite fine. I learnt that last aquaculture season she managed to harvest 4 tons that earned her a good K10 million on the market.”
He added that by pointing out the strides that MZADD has made in promotion of aquaculture with over 2115 fish farmers operating 3390 ponds.
The president also inspected dairy farmers at Lusangazi in the outskirts of Mzuzu city whom he said impressed him with their organization working in cooperative to uplift their livelihoods through agribusiness.
“I went to Yavundika Village where I met members of Lusangazi Dairy Cooperative Society. Evelyn Nyirenda told me the remarkable size and operations of the 204-member cooperative, of which 118 are women. With a total of 226 cows, the cooperative is earning decent income from sale of milk to communities and businesses in Mzuzu City and Mzimba District.
“I am impressed that in all these impressive feats, farmers are not working in isolation. They are organized in cooperatives and clusters where they share modern knowledge and techniques. This shows that unity among farmers is key to collective development hence improved livelihoods,” said the President.
Thereafter, President Chakwer held a development rally at Emuyeni ground where he assured people of Mzimba and the nation that his administration will carry on with development projects initiated by previous administrations.