The Economist (London) (09.01.07) - Monday, September 17, 2007
The nonprofit Malaysia-based WorldFish Center has helped 1,202
families in southern Malawi who have lost an income-earner to
HIV/AIDS to dig and run fish ponds. The country relies heavily
on subsistence farming but HIV/AIDS, erratic rain,
overpopulation, and soil erosion have taken their toll on
farmers. Malawi's main lake is overfished, and people have
lost a major source of protein. In the 1970s, they ate 14
kilos of fish per person per year; today, they consume four
The fish ponds cost $200 to make and $10 to stock with fish.
They are filled from the water table or nearby streams and
rain keeps them going. Fish eat farm waste and by-products
such as chicken manure and maize bran. According to WorldFish,
families with fish ponds have doubled their incomes and now
eat 150 percent more fresh fish. Children's malnutrition rates
have dropped from 45 percent to 15 percent in three years.
Pond owners sell most of their fish and vegetables (watered
from the pond during droughts) locally. Pond owners are also
learning how to make smoked fish, which preserves it for two
weeks. Daniel Jamu, WorldFish's regional director, said the
next step is to help farmers work together to market their
produce in towns, where prices are higher.
WorldFish is expanding the aquaculture project to reach
another 26,000 families in Mozambique and Zambia as well as