Low-cost fish feed for aquaculture farmers

A key requirement for students studying Wildlife Management and Tourism Studies is to undertake a research project from which they can produce a report. Arnold Mbaimbai, a 4th-year student working under the supervision of Dr Evans Simasiku, conducted an interesting study titled “Assessment of different feed types on the growth performance of Oreochromis andersonii (Three Spot Tilapia) under a controlled environment at the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in the Zambezi region”. Inland fisheries in Africa are very important in creating work opportunities and providing protein-rich food for people living in rural communities. The biggest problem faced by aquaculture farmers is the cost of feeds. In intensive aquaculture, the feed accounts for 60-80% of operational costs.

The purpose of this study was to see if an alternative cheap and readily available feed could be identified as a cost-cutting measure in the Zambezi region in order to support local fish farming. Thus, the effect of different feed types on the growth performance of

Oreochromis andersonii were in order to ascertain a cheaper alternative to commercial fish pellets. In the end, the study suggests that O. andersonii fed with chicken feed outperformed those that were fed with commercial pellets and pig feed. This implies that local farmers who wish to venture into small-scale aquaculture can opt to buy locally available and cheap chicken feed to start up small aquaculture projects. This does not only help local farmers but will also benefit natural water systems because people would then purchase their fish from the local farms – effectively reducing people’s dependency on fish from natural water systems. This in turn would reduce illegal fishing during off-season, December – February.

Measuring fish weight, length, and growth in response to various feeding

Original story by: Arnold Mbaimbai 

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About the Author: Michael Lukubwe