25 Aug, 2019

A symbolic handshake between Ariana Bystry and Dr Agnes Mwangwera during the handover ceremony
The Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (Germany) has said it is impressed with the progress of the I love Fish project which is being hosted at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR).

This was said on Wednesday 25th September, 2019 at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources during a four-day evaluation visit of the project.

In her remarks, the Administration Officer at the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food, Ariana Bystry expressed her satisfaction towards the project’s progress.

“The agency is indeed impressed with the progress we have witnessed so far. The project is really producing tangible results that will have a direct positive impact in the aquaculture and nutrition sector in Malawi,” she said.

During the evaluation visit, the donor also handed over the technology which the project has brought to LUANAR. The technology includes the state of art solar hatchery which has improved the quality and quantity of fingerlings being produced at the university and also the aquaponics system which is a new technology at the institution that allows simultaneous growth of fish and vegetables.

Speaking in an interview, the Bunda Campus Director, Dr. Agnes Mwangwera thanked the donors through the I Love Fish project for the significant contribution they have made to the university.

“We acknowledge the support that we have received from the German government through the I love Fish project. The support is helping us in addressing the challenges that we are facing in the Malawian aquaculture and nutrition sector,” Dr. Mwangwera said.

She further said that the project has helped LUANAR in many things including capacity building that has been happening at the university. This includes the technologies that have been received, the trainings that have been conducted with both the fish farmers and the students and also the support to the students that have participated in the project.

In his remarks, the Malawi’s project coordinator, Professor Daud Kassam expressed his satisfaction with the implementation of the project.

“Am happy with how the project has been implemented here at LUANAR and also the two districts namely Mchinji and Nkhotakota. Everything has been implemented well and the outputs are great, with some notable infrastructure such as the state-of-the-art solar powered hatchery, Aquaponics unit and numerous equipment in the mini Biotechnology laboratory within the department During the implementation, we did not face any financial problems and we are happy with the support the government of Germany had given us,” Prof Kassam said.

The I love Fish project started in 2016 and was supposed to end in September, 2019 but it has recently been extended to 2020. Commenting on the extension, the German project coordinator, Dr Sebastian Rakers expressed his gratitude from the consideration to extend the project.

“We are happy that we were able to extend the project to another year. During the implementation we were faced with a big problem in terms of availability of high-quality feed for fish in Malawi, especially in the rural areas. So, in the added year we would like to closely look at it as well and establish an insect protein production unit to be able to provide fish with affordable high-quality feed,” Dr Rakers said.

During the visit, the donor toured the projects’ activities being implemented at LUANAR, in Mchinji and Nkhotakota. The project also supported three MSc students with full scholarships that included tuition, research funds and monthly stipend, and one student who was partially funded on research. The students are Apatsa Chelewani, Martha Alufeyo, Hassib Sainan and Peace Mnelemba. Implementation of the project was done by the following partners : Fraunhofer Research Institution for Marine Biotechnology (EMB), Gesellschaft für marine Aquakultur (GMA), Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Aquaculture and Fisheries Science Department (LUANAR-AQF), Lilongwe University of Malawi, Department of Human Nutrition and Health (LUANAR-HNH), Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Food Science and Technology (LUANAR-FST), Quantum for Urban Agriculture and Environmental Sanitation (QUALIVES), and Innovative Fish Farmers Network Trust (IFFNT).