Biologist pilots fish farming project

Fish farmer ULF Nermark (right) casts out a net after catching fish from a tank. PIC: KAGISO ONKATSWITSE
Fish farmer ULF Nermark (right) casts out a net after catching fish from a tank. PIC: KAGISO ONKATSWITSE

Marine biologist, Ulf Nermark has embarked on a self-sponsored private fish-farming project in Gaborone.

Speaking to Business Monitor, Nermark said that he has been doing fish farming since 1980 in his home country, Sweden.

“This industry can be one of the fastest growing sectors in Botswana,” says the farmer.

Nermark is doing an applied research project, which is not commercial for now, but says going forward his intention is to take up the role on consulting and training other people to be fish farmers.

According to the biologist, the production part of aquaculture is very challenging, but says he managed to pull through against all odds.

Early this month, he launched his project in Gaborone under WaFaBo (Water Farming Botswana Company). He has over 90 Mozambican bream fish that have been harvested for family consumption.

However, Nermark said that if expanded the project can be profitable, but needs to raise capital for investment to be at commercial level.

He got his first batch of fish from Dr Botshabelo in Gabane.  According to Nermark, fish farming on a large scale is costly, as it needs nothing less than P2 million. The reason why Nermark chose fish farming is because people are now getting familiar with the aqua animal and the market is forecasted to grow from 2015 onwards.  “The government of Botswana wants to diversify the economy, this is why I went for fish farming as it has the potential of bringing in a lot of income,” said Nermark.

 According to a World Bank 2013 report, aquaculture production is expected to exceed that of capture fisheries in 2015 and to reach 53 percent of total human consumption by 2022.  Only Mozambique bream is allowed for farming at this stage, but Nermark hopes the authorities will soon allow the Nile tilapia as well. Some of WaFABo’s highlights include having fish harvested that has an acceptable size compared to what one can find in the supermarkets. According to Nermark, the breams he harvests are of good quality as compared to those sold in the shops. 

“Like any other project, fish farming has its challenges such as heating water at high costs. “Nonetheless, the project has shown that it is possible to do fish farming in Botswana and it can be very profitable,” he said.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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