A fish project in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland West province has become a source of livelihood for local people, including hundreds of orphans.
Villagers in Mhangura’s Richmond area, who were imparted fish farming skills by a local organization, are now reaping the benefits.
It all started when a local organization, Pamuhacha, donated 1,500 fish and feeding material to local people and showed them modern ways of conducting this type of farming.
The project was set up at Richmond Primary School and first managed by teachers and the School Development Association before being embraced by the whole community.
A swimming pool once used by a white commercial farmer was converted into a fish pond.
It has not all been rosy as the villagers at first encountered several problems like limited fish farming knowledge.
One of the fish farmers, Munjodzi Watsomba, says they did not even have an idea on when to clean, empty and refill the fish pond.
All this has almost been overcome as Rose Kachabwa, a mother of four children, is among local people who say the fish project has transformed their lives.
“This project is good for us we can now get relish and fish is nutritious,” she says.
Another beneficiary, Muchadei Garawaziva, a mother of three, says apart from eating fresh fish, most villagers are now thinking of having similar projects in their homesteads.
“We eat fish when they are still fresh...i'm planning to have my fish project at my homestead because i realised that it is easy to look after them,” says Garawaziva.
Innocent Wachenuka, a teacher at Richmond Primary School, who kick-started the project, says they are now paying fees for 26 children with money derived from selling fish.
Watsomba says the fish project is growing everyday.
He says they sell five palm-sized fish for a dollar and 1,000 fish for $150.
The villagers currently have four pools for conducting the business after only starting with one pond.
Pamuhacha director, Precious Nhapi, says they are happy that local communities are becoming self-reliant at a time when most Zimbabweans are struggling to make ends meet due to the current harsh economic environment in the country.