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Fish farming and mealworms benefit small cooperatives

Written by Vincent Malapane

The Ndlovu Family Farm Cooperative in Hekpoort, Mogale City, is one of several sites to benefit from fish farming and mealworm breeding.

This was after the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR)installed infrastructure that will be used for fish farming and mealworm breeding.

The programme is a collaboration between the department and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), looking at the feasibility of this type of farming.

John Ndlovu, from the Ndlovu Family Farm Cooperative, was delighted to see a fish tank system being installed on his farm in Hekpoort.Fish Tank Reticulation System under construction in Hekpoort.

“I’m grateful and honoured to have been chosen. We will be trained in fish farming and maintenance of the fish tanks. This means we will have more than three people working every day and gaining the necessary skills to sustain the operation of the system even after the pilot has been completed,”  he said.

Ndlovu added that young people within the cooperative will also receive training on this type of farming.

Other rural sites set to benefit from this project are in Driekop and Mphanama in Limpopo and Acornhoek in Mpumalanga.

Fishy business

According to the DRDLR, the CSIR is exploring three things: sustainable small-scale fish farming, farming mealworms and producing fish and livestock feed from mealworms.

Researchers have found that food for mealworms can be made from bird-resistant sorghum waste. The leaves, stems and bran that result from the processing of grain can also be converted into good food for mealworms.

The result is highly-nutritious mealworm, packed with protein, carbohydrate and fat that can be turned into feed for fish and livestock.

*Vincent Malapane works for the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.