Aquaculture assessment and value chain pilots for improving fish supply, employment, and nutrition in DR Congo and Angola project come of age
Four modern hatcheries have been built and are operational in Kalambo and Kinshasa, with a combined output of 2 million fingerlings (larvae and juveniles) of both Tilapia (Oreochromis Niloticus) and catfish (Clarias gariepenus). Dr Kande Matungulu, Project Manager of the Aquaculture assessments, said this as he took stock of the evolution of the project.
A number of fish producer associations have been assisted with targeted capacity building training, which included the proper establishment of earth ponds in the Ruzizi plains and Kinshasa hinterland. Limited hand tools and some inputs were also provided.
Dr Matungulu noted that a fish feed scoping study was carried out to develop locally produced fish feed to reduce fish feed imports and valorize the abundant, locally produced fish feed ingredients. A designed experiment to test the performance of the locally developed fish feed formula is in the offing.
A mix of soybean, maize, cassava flour, fishmeal, minerals, and vitamins added to dried cow blood has yielded a noticeable weight increment, with tilapia growing to 300–500g and catfish of between 1 and 2.5 kg in six months at the Malweka fish farm in Kinshasa. The improved Tilapia strain “Gift” from Worldfish reached 0.5 kg in just 6 months.
Dr Matungulu said that the next steps will comprise:
- A continuation of the small-scale fresh water fish farm extension in both Kinshasa and South Kivu.
- The confirmation of the true genetic identity of the Tilapia “Gift” specie being widely used in Kinshasa.
- Testing of fish performance using locally produced fish feed and ingredients.
- The sampling and safety control of a number of fish to identify or characterize mold, maggots, Aflatoxin infestation etc. known to infest a number of stored fish due to poor hygiene and storage conditions. The latter is a collaborative study between IITA, WorldFish-Zambia, and the University of Zambia.
- Apply for any open calls that could allow continuation of the project under the new umbrella of “Integrated food crop and fish farming for smallholder rural areas around Kinshasa and Bukavu”.
- Intensify contacts with prospective projects that are presently working in our regions (e.g., PICAGEL in South Kivu).
The aquaculture project is an IITA-Worldfish partnership funded by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and has been operational in the DRC since 2017.