A delegation, led by FCDO Malawi’s economic adviser Chris Pearce, recently visited three enterprises supported by CASA Malawi. This included a visit to husband and wife Falesi and Odoi Mwangonde who own Viphya Chambo, along with CASA value chain experts.
Dumisani Matundu from CASA Malawi said: ‘We were pleased to welcome FCDO colleagues to a business we supported for 18-month from August 2020. CASA invested in this enterprise because we were impressed by the passionate way that the owners were pursuing business opportunities in the aquaculture sector. With the support of UKAid, Viphya Chambo has been able to undertake a pilot ,and scale-up, Malawi’s first fish aggregation and off-taking model involving small-scale producers. Demand for table fish is estimated at around 40 tonnes, however Viphya Chambo needed to find innovative ways to support its market share from around 6 tonnes.’
Earllier in 2020 CASA Malawi produced a detailed aquaculture sector strategy. This report highlighted a number of challenges that needed to be addressed for the sector to become more effective. The report noted that aquaculture production is significantly inputs-driven, which increases the importance of fingerlings and feed in the value chain. The country was importing all its floating feed from Zambia and there was no source of sex reversed fingerlings.
Because male and female fish grow at different rates, it is much easier to produce consistent sized table-fish and meet market requirements from single sex fish stock. These factors were seen to compromise the productivity and profitability of small-scale fish producers.
With the help of a consultant provided by CASA, Viphya Chambo established sustainable, high-quality same-sex high growth fingerling production. In addition a greenhouse-based breeding system was also introduced to mitigate the risks of delayed growth arising from cold weather in Mzuzu.
The company managed to boost its fingerling annual production capacity from about 136,000 to about 2 million per annum. Fingerling production has now become a key revenue stream for the enterprise.
The out-grower model has also continued to grow yielding increased returns for the smallholders and the enterprise., despite some setbacks caused by changes in the operation of markets during the height of the Covid pandemic in Malawi.
Dumisani Matundu concluded: ‘The FCDO team was pleased to see the positive impact that the CASA partnership had been able to make. Despite an adverse business climate and the disruption that Covid had on market, Viphya Chambo, with CASA support, has emerged as a resilient business. They are also improving the livelihood of over 70 small-scale fish producers in the supply chain and increasing the supply of table fish in Mzuzu. The business is also now a key link in the aquaculture value chain through the production of fingerlings.’
Summary of the impact of the CASA Malawi partnership with Viphya Chambo
- Investment prospectus developed to support continued growth of the company including a pitch to investors at the Africa Green Revolution Forum
- 72 small-scale fish farmers supported and achieving a premium price /kg for their production in an out-grower model
- 2 million fingerlings produced/ per annum – supplying over 600 small-scale fish farmers