Chirumanzu communal farmer in aquaculture empowerment drive

CONSTANTINE CHAGONDA
CHIRUMANZU-A communal farmer in Chirumanzi District has embarked on ambitious program to empower villagers through giving them fingerlings and construction of fish ponds for free.
Regis Maburutse from Maburutse Village has four fish ponds at his homestead with a capacity of 440 000 cubic metres of water capable of carrying over 1 million fish and it is from this project that the fingerlings will be given to villagers for their own farming.
“Our intention is to turn this place to a breeding centre for Chirumanzu Constituency by making sure that in every ward there is at least one thriving aquaculture project to feed the people. We are inviting all those who have the capacity and even those without the capacity but have passion for fish farming to come forward with proposals and we will assist them with fingerlings. We will even assist them with citing of the fishponds and water points as well as construction at no cost at all to them,” said the manager at the homestead, Kombiwa Mushaike.
The aquaculture project at Maburutse homestead was started in 2019 and is still under expansion as they intend to add base fish in addition to Kariba Breams already being bred, Kombiwa told The Mirror during a Constituency visit recently.
Kombiwa told The Mirror that they intend to give over 100 000 fingerlings in the first quarter of the year which can mature in six months.
“As you can see the construction of the other fish ponds is underway and that means more fish hence we intend to start giving out fingerlings anytime from now. We intend to reduce poverty levels in the community, eradicate malnutrition and create employment for those who want to work.
“We are convinced that Chirumanzu is capable of feeding the nation because we have good soils, good temperatures, all supermarkets should be filled with fish, chicken, beef, pork from this Constituency and that is very possible if we remain focused,” added Kombiwa.
At the 60hectare homestead there is also a thriving Turkey rearing project with over 500 birds and an incubator with a 20 000 eggs capacity at any given time. There is also a biogas plant for power for the homestead and construction of pigsty is at an advanced stage where the pigs will be supplying piglets to the community in the same manner as the aquaculture project.
Four hectares of the homestead are reserved for horticulture and there is another five hectares under Katambora grass (originally from Katambora in Zambia) for cattle fattening.
“This Katambora grass growing project is probably the first of its kind by a communal farmer in the country and since the country has not enough feed for cattle this is actually a game changer in the district.
“The growing of this highly nutritious grass for cattle will turn this homestead into the nucleus for agriculture in the district as other farmers will be able to access seed from there,” said Ephraim Machivenyika the veterinary officer for the area.
Machivenyika said Katambora is a drought resistant and poor soil tolerant grass which matures in 12 weeks, can take up to five years to die, is not toxic and can feed four beasts per hectare.

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