Technical Skills Training marinated with a productive exchange visit
The desire to be fish farmers by Self Help Groups in ward 7 prompted the Chikomba district staff to pencil training for the concerned groups on the 14th September 2014. The training, however was facilitated by the organization district resource person, being a member of one Cyborg group in ward 22 Dambatsoko. The aquaculture training was a one day activity and in was graced by different government department staff that work in the ward. Represented groups included Manhize Farmers co-operation group, Manhize Bee keepers group, Pasichigare, Simukai A and Top Twenty. Independent members of the community also came to receive the knowledgeable trainings. One week after the training, an exchange visit was later carried out to the Cyborg group where representative members from the two Manhize groups, Top Twenty and Simukai were taken for a tour of the aquaculture training done by the group in ward 22.
The training commenced with the variety of fish that the farmers could farm, commonly referred to as Tilapia breams and the easiest to rear in the dam-lined fish ponds. Interestingly, the training implored certain characteristics that this kind of fish is known of, being mouth breeders and that their eating habit is temperature related. Of importance to the Tilapia bream that came out of the training is the aspect that their egg laying ratio is equivalent to their weight, with each fish gram equalling four eggs. The facilitator maintained that Tilapia breams can have up to a thousand eggs that are all sure to be hatched, in nests that the male fish could have prepared. On this front, the facilitator explored that the male fish can have as many as four nests that attracts female fish to come and lay eggs into the for fertilization.
The participants were given a choice of fish to exceptionally rely on during the training, where they could realise returns. The two varieties, breams and ornamentals can be farmed together but in separate ponds but all having the capacity to give returns that are pleasing to the farmers. Of importance to the breams is the fact that the male bream is specific for meat, hence, a sex reversal exercise has to be done in order to improve on consumptible variety. The sex reversal exercise is done in such a way that every female fish that would have consumed the sex reversing medicine. Only fish for breeding purposes can be left as mixed, and the sex reversal exercise controls the fish population in a pond sine there would be no more breeding.
Last item given to the participants was on the types of fish ponds and how they are to be made with the facilitator encouraging on the dam-lined ponds that are easy to construct. Here, the facilitator urged that ponds should have the deep and shallow ends that save different purposes with the deep end being a fortress to hide from predators and the shallow end as a playground, feeding and breeding area. Farmers realized that the capacity of a fish pond lies within its dimensions, with a square meter being able to house only 10-20 fish.
An illustration pond by one member who hosted the training was toured where corrections and lessons were to be given to the attentively and probing participants present. The lesson learnt underscored the initial belief farmers have that any pit dug can be a fish pond and from the tour of the pond site they learnt the essence of the deep-shallow kind of ponds.
THE EXCHANGE VISIT
The trainings extended to the group members were followed up with a look and learn exchange visit to the site where the facilitator is doing his fish-farming project from. Representatives of the groups that attended the initial training had the advantage to coin everything they learnt with seeing what was on the ground, the actual happenings. The day started with a rundown of how the project started, membership and its relationship to the Hand in Hand Model. Members of the Cyborg saving group took turns to answer the various questions brought up by the visiting team. On issues of co-operation in doing much of the work that solely required labour, the chairperson of the group Mr Liberty Magwenzi intimated that group members understand the values of Unity and Strengths mirrored in Confidence underscored in the lessons they received from the Hand in Hand Zimbabwe trainers. This, he said is the basis of a project going concern with members driven by interest and the desire to succeed. One member Mr Piason Choruwa had it that the labour intensive looking activities of the project were far from being realised by the group members since they worked together all the times in making fish ponds. Hardly did the group hired external labour since they are so entwined that they don’t have conflicts when working.
After all questions were asked and answered, the visiting team were taken for a tour of the fish ponds that comprised both the Tilapia breams and the ornamental gold fish ponds. What started as a world of make belief during trainings became reality to the team with the trainer doing exactly what he said he does when feeding the fish. The bond and relationship he created came into being when he called the fish out of water through playing his hand in the waters and the fishes floating and coming to him.
Pictures above shows floating Gold fish awaiting to be fed by their master.
Below are pictures of the Fingerlings and Tilapia bream breeding pond as well as the not yet used commercial pond that will carry 20 000 Tilapia breams.
Plans to go Commercial by the Cyborg group are already underway as they have already constructed a much bigger fish pond that accommodates up to 40 000 Tilapia breams. The pond only awaited spreading of the dam-line and filling up the pond with water since the fish seed is already there in the breeding pond.