The Gold Standard Plus for Commercial Pond Culture is a 2 year project whose overall objective is to support the development of Malawi’s aquaculture sector in selected regions to increase the availability of fish products and income from sustainably operating small and medium size aquaculture businesses. This initial target for this pilot project is 20 pilot pioneer small scale farmers and 500 early adopters (women, men and youth) who will use Golden Plus Standard in Malawi by 2020.

Objective

The overall objective is defined by the following benchmarks:(i) a sustainable market oriented and income generating small scale aquaculture fish production is empowered through the application if the Golden Plus Standard and hence the critical mass for private; (ii) small scale fish producers ensure themselves a profitable tilapia production through applying the golden standard calculation tools; and (iii) pioneer farmers are an example for early adopters to follow their management practices.

Constrains

The aquaculture fish pond production of smallholders in Malawi is extensive and characterized by use of recycled (inbred, and likely cross-bred) local tilapia species, and fish is fed with maize bran and kitchen wastes. This simple practice results in low harvest yields of fish in poor quality and small sizes and hence in very low farm income. Fish farming is mainly practised as a secondary activity after maize, groundnuts and beans production for mostly nutrition purposes rather than as a commercial enterprise. This is due to limitations in production techniques, lack of production know how and business skills and no market linkages. Neither farmers keep records for their fish production performance nor about sales. The biggest constraints to the sustainable growth of smallholder fish farmers have been their limited access to quality input factors like fingerlings and fish feed, as well as financing for investment and working capital. In addition, the provision of extension services is weak and limited. The fish market in Malawi shows demand for farmed tilapia but limited by insufficient fish production from both capture and aquaculture. The fish production gap is estimated to be 35,000 metric tons. Therefore pond-based aquaculture systems can play an important role in replacing the exploitation of natural fish grounds and in providing fish to the rural population.

Impact Pathways

The fish producers are put at the centre of the project. Their benefit from the project will be their capability to calculate and record farm revenues, expenditures, do gross margin calculations, understand local markets and do their own business planning. There will be consultations in that way farmers (individuals or groups) decide from whom he/she buys the fish feed, and other inputs. Farmers will be aware about farm and market complexity. Open minded young people, conservative but interested people – early and later adaptor - can learn from pioneers. Another advantage will be that farmers will learn among themselves through horizontal comparisons of farm data and exchange of experiences. This with the cooperation with IFFNT will strengthen their self-confidence and the development of a strong aquaculture association and finally their advocacy to lobby for other improvements in the value chain. The projects target the whole value chain of improving efficiency thereby increasing production while reducing the cost of production. In this case, we will develop fish growth curves for different species and different feeding regimes. The idea will be to produce consumer led fush sizes and species. Consequently low production costs will benefit poorer consumers in accessing affordable fish for improved nutrition. Similarly, increased production will increase supply on local farmers´ markets or in restaurants. The project will be implemented in the same region as the GIZ Aquaculture Value Chain programme. Markets will be identified around the capital city Lilongwe and the cities of Mzuzu, Salima and Blantyre. The focus lies on closing the big gap between demand and supply on the domestic market. The pull marketing approach will be used in order to ensure a market orientation towards the wishes of the local clients which might be very different depending on income, household sizes, location, and also from tradition. This fact shows different market segments.

Internvention Strategies

The projects target the whole value chain of improving efficiency thereby increasing production while reducing the cost of production. In this case, the project will develop fish growth curves for different species and different feeding regimes. The idea will be to produce consumer led fish sizes and species. Consequently low production costs will benefit poorer consumers in accessing affordable fish for improved nutrition. Similarly, increased production will increase supply on local farmers´ markets or in restaurants. The project will be implemented in the same region as the GIZ Aquaculture Value Chain programme. Markets will be identified around the capital city Lilongwe and the cities of Mzuzu, Salima and Blantyre. The focus lies on closing the big gap between demand and supply on the domestic market. The pull marketing approach will be used in order to ensure a market orientation towards the wishes of the local clients which might be very different depending on income, household sizes, location, and also from tradition.