Stirling to aid Malawi fish farmers and budding entrepreneurs –

Stirling to aid Malawi fish farmers and budding entrepreneurs Published:  27 January, 2009

Fish farmers in Malawi are to be taught how to become entrepreneurs, thanks to a project run by the Institute of Aquaculture at the University of Stirling.

A Scottish Government grant of £241,000 will help them move from subsistence aquaculture to viable economic activity by providing training and formal qualifications in business and technical skills.

This new programme of “entrepreneurship in Aquaculture” will comprise focused short courses targeted at college and university graduates and progressive farmers. It will design and demonstrate serviceable fish culture systems and also provide networking opportunities, support, and advice on accessing markets.

Stirling’s Dr Krishen Rana, an internationally recognised expert in the development of aquatic resources, explained: “There is an urgent need to commercialise small-holder aquaculture in Malawi, as subsistence farming cannot meet the demands of urban and regional markets, and offers little opportunity to generate surplus income that will improve the wellbeing of farmers.

“This project aims to provide food security to vulnerable communities by tackling the bottlenecks that are preventing commercialisation in Malawi, and promoting small-holder aquaculture as an agribusiness to a wide range of people, irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, religion and disability.”

Working with the Bunda College of Agriculture, University of Malawi, Natural Resource College and Malawi College of Fisheries, Dept of Agriculture, the project will develop their capacity to deliver targeted training in entrepreneurship for farmers and secondary producers. “We also anticipate that the staff at these tertiary institutions will benefit through an enhanced capacity to deliver new information,” Dr Rana added.

The African Federation for Rural Innovation in Commercial Aquaculture (AFRICA), formed and funded by an earlier grant from the Scottish Government, will also be mobilised to consider the national and regional interests.

This project is one of a number operating in Malawi which will receive more than £1 million of international development funding to continue their work, announced by Linda Fabiani, Scottish Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture.

She said: “We are enabling Scottish organisations in Malawi to further develop programmes which address the specific priority areas we have agreed with the Malawian Government. Many of the programmes we are supporting in this funding round are working to help address these issues and make a real difference to ordinary people. The value to the people of Malawi of these projects cannot be overestimated.”