A study was conducted between January and May 2011, through administration of questionnaires and personal interviews in 6 of the 10 provinces of Zambia (namely: Lusaka, Eastern, Central, North Western, Copperbelt, and Southern) in order to assess the contribution of small water bodies (SWBs) and small-holder aquaculture towards poverty alleviation and enhancing household food security. Using simple random sampling method, a total of 120 respondents were selected. Results indicated that, a total of 1,082 SWBs were constructed throughout the country covering a total area of 5,410 ha. Most of them were constructed for irrigation purposes and as sources of drinking water for livestock. At the same time, aquaculture adoption at household and intra household levels had increased by 4.7% in all the districts over the years. There were more than 11,327 small-holder farmers who owned 21,658 ponds, covering 578.86 ha of land. There was also a 10% increase in number of learning institutions and the hospitality industries that had adopted aquaculture activities either for recreational or learning purposes. Existing statistics indicated that, there were 11,327 small-holder farmers who owned 21,658 ponds, covering 578.86 ha of land with an annual fish production of 3,985.16 metric tonnes, while that from SWBs stood at 2,705 metric tons. It was however noted that, the majority of these farmers (65%) produced less than 0.5 tons of fish per hectare/year, which was considered to be very low. However, fish production from SWBs remained almost unchanged because extension support had remained very inadequate and the designed programme to enhance productivity in community small-water bodies was not being implemented. Most of the fish harvested comprised mainly of: Oreochromis andersonii, Oreochromis macrochir, and Tilapia rendalli, which were readily acceptable to the consumers.The study also revealed that, adoption of small-holder aquaculture helped in poverty alleviation, improved rural household food security and better nutritional status compared to non-fish farming families. Most of the small-holder farmers cultivated various agricultural crops through irrigation and were also involved in livestock rearing, from which extra income was realized.
Key words: Contribution, small-water bodies, small-holder aquaculture, poverty alleviation, food security, Zambia.
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