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    Sunday, 14 January 2018

    Chikomba RDC, SA company in US$140 000 aquaponic project


    ELLEN MLAMBO
    CHIVHU BUREAU

    CHIKOMBA- Chikomba RDC has started a US$140 000 aquaponic joint venture project with Saphire Aqua Tourism, a South African based company and this will see more than 100 jobs being created and hundreds of dollars earned in foreign currency.
    Chikomba RDC Chief Executive Officer, Luckson Mutara confirmed the developments in an interview with The Mirror and said that construction of the first phase of the project is almost complete and commissioning is due any time before the end of this January.
    Aquaponic is a system of aquaculture in which waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic creatures supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically.
    Products from the project include tilapia fish, sugar peas, red leaf, cucumber, lettuce, Chinese peas, watercress, chicory, zucchini and flowers.
    Sapphire Aqua Tourism is being represented by John Dearden in the joint-venture. The project is located near the proposed new Chivhu town site about 3km from the current Chivhu Town Centre.
    The Mirror was taken on a tour of the site of the project where structures like fish pond and the green house where plants will be grown are almost complete.
    Mutara said Sapphire Aqua Tourism will provide technical knowledge and Chikomba RDC will put together the resources.
    "The project will consist of a greenhouse and complementary facilities that include a training facility, fish nursery for breeding of fingerlings, food manufacturing plant for producing food for the fish and a packaging and cold storage facility," said Mutara.
    He said the total expected cost of the project is $140 000 and there are four phases to it and the first phase absorb US$50 000. A test run will be carried out before the commissioning of the project. He said the structures in the other three phases will be constructed using money generated from the first phase and the whole project should be completed in two years.
    The deal between Chikomba and Sapphire was sealed in February 2016.
    Mutara added that the project which is in line with the ZIMASSET Food and Nutrition cluster is two -fold in that it will integrate fish breeding and production of high yield horticulture products like flowers and other plants that will be sold in order to earn foreign currency.
    He said the total capacity of the six ponds is 2400 fish and the fish's waste products will be used as proteins in the production of the high yield horticulture products grown over sand media in the green house section of the facility.
    Training programmes will be extended to locals both within and outside the district in order to improve food security and raise living standards for the people.
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