A limited production in fish feed as a result of the recurrent drought in recent years has negatively impacted the production of tilapia fish at Epalela from 40 tonnes yearly to only 90 tonnes in the past three years.
Although the demonstration farm has the ability to produce 40 tonnes yearly, the farm is said to be at a low point of production.
The highest annual fish harvest was recorded in 2013, when the farm produced 38 tonnes.
“In 2015, the farm was faced with challenges, hence could not harvest monthly due to a low budget allocation towards fish feed,” said the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernhard Esau.
Speaking at the second extraordinary fish harvest on Saturday, Esau was however optimistic of an increase in fish production.
The Epalela demonstration fish farm on Saturday witnessed the second extraordinary fish harvest, harvesting 6 tons of tilapia fish from three of its 12 ponds.
A harvest of the same magnitude was experienced in 2014 when 6 tons of fish was harvested from the 12 ponds.
Addressing a big crowd, Esau appealed to community members to tap knowledge from the model farm whose primary purpose is to entice and encourage community members to go into fish farming.
The minister further appealed to the experts at the farm, including the Cuban experts, to offer extension services to the community in the quest to eradicate poverty and boost food security.
“I encourage farmers to emulate the good work executed at Epalela,” said the fisheries and marine resources minister.
Also speaking at the event, the Governor of Omusati Region Erginus Endjala appealed to the business community to venture into aquaculture to reduce poverty and increase food security.
Endjala further appealed to the fisheries ministry to expand projects such as that of Epalela to other areas in the Omusati Region and the country at large.
The governor reiterated the minister’s call to educate farmers to farm with fish, citing that it contributes effectively to job creation, poverty eradication and ultimately contributing to nutritional value.