Africa Asia Middle East Français Português Subscribe IRIN Site Map
PlusNews
Global HIV/AIDS news and analysis
Advanced search
 Wednesday 03 October 2007
 
Home 
Africa 
Weekly reports 
In-Depth reports 
Country profiles 
Fact files 
Events 
Jobs 
Really Simple Syndication Feeds 
About PlusNews 
Donors 
Contact PlusNews 
 
Print report
MALAWI: Fish farming eases living with HIV/AIDS


Photo: IRIN
Fish can provide essential nutrients for HIV-positive people
ZOMBA, 27 August 2007 (PlusNews) - Widowed Esnat Singano, 54, did not know her husband was HIV positive until almost two years after his death in 2000, when she also tested positive for the virus.

After one of her four children also died as a result of the disease, she was left to care for two of her grandchildren and struggled to find the money to send them to primary school. "They needed clothes and food and many other things to be in class; these are the things I could not afford," she told IRIN/PlusNews.

Life has become a little easier for Singano since World Vision, an international relief organisation operating in Malawi, introduced a food security programme in her village in the southeastern district of Zomba two years ago.

"I have been able to grow maize twice a year," she said. "But, more importantly, the introduction of a fish-farming project has changed my life."

The programme funded by the World Bank, which aims to increase the income and nutritional status of households affected by HIV/AIDS, helped Singano to build two fish ponds last year.

"I jumped on the idea when it was told to us by World Vision," she said. "Clubs were formed and many people joined. It is now a year since I started farming fish and so far I have harvested three times; from it I have made 120,000 Malawian kwacha (US$850)."

Besides the income Singano earns from selling her fish, they are also an important source of food for her and her grandchildren.

Timamu Muhajiri, 77, is another beneficiary of the project. After 30 years working a mine in Zimbabwe, in 1991 he returned home with his wife, 10 children and five grandchildren. He said the pension he received from his former employer was a fraction of what he earned from his two fish ponds, which yielded a "harvest" worth about US$550 every three months.

"I think I have been wasting a lot of time and money looking for employment outside the country," Muhajiri said. "What I needed was only the technology to improve my farming."

Over 1,000 households headed by orphans and widows have benefited from the World Vision project, which receives technical support from the WorldFish Centre, a non-profit, international research organisation.

Families with small plots of land were helped to dig small, rain-fed ponds, where they raise tilapia, a common local fish species. There are five species of tilapiine cichlids recorded from Lake Malawi, and other species of the fish occur worldwide.

Although the project implementers pulled out in July 2006, families in the Zomba area, where over 60 percent of the population live in poverty, are now earning an income from their fishponds.

The WorldFish Centre developed the project with mainly the children and elderly in mind, because the ponds require little heavy labour and the fish can be fed with farm and kitchen waste.

"The basic principle of integrated agriculture-aquaculture is to grow fish in water bodies that are closely integrated into a household farm, and intentionally make use of the resource flows of all the diverse activities on a farm, such as livestock, vegetables and crops," said Daniel Jamu, the WorldFish Centre's regional director.

He said fish could provide essential nutrients to the 14 percent of Malawi's population estimated to be living with HIV. The ponds yield about 1,500kg of fish per hectare per year, which often leaves some excess that can be sold to pay for medical care and household needs.

Malawi's expanding population has led to a growing demand for fish, but over-fishing of Lake Malawi and the Shire River has caused a decline in fish stocks and reduced annual per capita fish consumption from 14kg in the 1970s to 4.2kg in 2005.

According to Jamu, the success of the fish-farming project in Zomba has enabled his centre and its partners to expand the initiative to include 26,000 farming households in Malawi and neighbouring Mozambique and Zambia.

rw/ks/he


Theme(s): (IRIN) HIV/AIDS (PlusNews)

[ENDS]

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Print report
FREE Subscriptions
Your e-mail address:


Submit your request
 More on Malawi
19/Sep/2007
SOUTHERN AFRICA: A winning recipe for PMTCT but few follow it
18/Sep/2007
MALAWI: HIV creates TB crisis
13/Sep/2007
SOUTHERN AFRICA: The effect of migration on HIV rates
07/Sep/2007
MALAWI: Young people still reluctant to test
24/Aug/2007
GLOBAL: US company sues American Red Cross over use of Red Cross emblem
 More on HIV/AIDS (PlusNews)
03/Oct/2007
SOUTH AFRICA: Hospital project attempts to revive Johannesburg inner city
02/Oct/2007
ZIMBABWE: People living with HIV/AIDS use new ways to handle hard times
01/Oct/2007
ZIMBABWE: Bulawayo's water crisis cripples AIDS efforts
28/Sep/2007
GLOBAL: IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 354, 28 September 2007
28/Sep/2007
SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE: Claims of putting the virus to sleep worry activists
Back | Home page

Services:  Africa | Asia | Middle East | Radio | Film & TV | Photo | E-mail subscription
Feedback · E-mail Webmaster · IRIN Terms & Conditions · Really Simple Syndication News Feeds · About PlusNews · Bookmark PlusNews · Donors

Copyright © IRIN 2007
This material comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations or its Member States. Republication is subject to terms and conditions as set out in the IRIN copyright page.