A total of 50 residents of Region Five, inclusive of staff of the Hugo Chavez Rehabilitation and Re-integration center, along with potential farmers and members of the regional women’s group was today trained in effective production and management of Aquaculture- which has proven over the years to be a lucrative industry.
The Three-day “Red tilapia Production and Management” workshop is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Fisheries Department and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It was held in the Boardroom of the Center’s Onverwagt, West Coast Berbice office.
Chief Fisheries Officer, Fisheries Department, Mr. Denzil Roberts in delivering remarks at the workshop charged the participants to ensure continuity in the project and to work together to ensure not only expansion, but to encompass domestic markets across the country.
“It is important for you to become self-sufficient in the sense that you not only expand your production base, but you position yourselves to be a reliable supplier of Tilapia…the industry remains a lucrative one which needs to be nurtured, and I believe you are well placed to realised this” Roberts said.
The Fisheries Department has over the years been providing training to fish farmers countrywide to ensure sustainability of the industry. Last year, the Hugo Chavez Center constructed two ponds in the compound, with the aim of supplying a protein rich diet to its occupants.
“We are pleased with the work done thus far, by the residents and staff of the center. The Fisheries Department is committed to ensure that the work done here is expanded….”the CFO said.
The Fisheries Department has so far donated 3000 fingerlings. This coupled with an additional 2000 fingerlings, fish feed and equipment donated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) earlier this year, has placed the center well on its way to sustainability.
The challenges facing the industry was also mentioned by Roberts who stated that, “It is a constant battle that we must not let get the better of us, but work together to ensure that we overcome them”.
JICA’s Regional Development Planning Advisor in Caricom, Mr. Tatsuya Morita spoke of his satisfaction with the work of the center and encouraged the continued support of the Ministry of Agriculture in this regard.
“While the necessary know-it-all were given to you, it was recognized that in order for this operation to be sustainable, there is a need for training in the production and management of red tilapia,” Mr. Morita said.
JICA has been a major supporter to the Fisheries Department in pushing for the advancement of the fishing industry and has contributed in a number of areas.
Meanwhile, the opportunities available in the aquaculture field and ways in which farmers can tap into such, was underscored by Representative of the Ministry of Social Protection, Ms. Carol Joseph.
Ms. Joseph added that since aquaculture accounts for almost half of the world’s food fish supply and will supply a greater percentage in the future, training programmes such as this, will equip farmers with pertinent skill set required to capitalize on this trend.
The training which entails site selection, pond design and construction, water quality and treatment, fertilization, feed and feeding, health and disease, harvesting, fish preservation methods and value-added production was conducted by Fisheries Officer Ms. Shirlena Oudith.
According to the Officer, “The objective is for farmers to employ the knowledge gained, so as to promote sustainability of the institute and contribute to food security as a whole.
The workshop encompasses not only theoretical knowledge of fish production and management but also a field visit to the Satyadeow Sawh Aquaculture Station (SSAS), Mon Repos and practical sessions on fish filleting. To ensure sustainability JICA will also be donating 4 water quality testing kits to the Chavez Institute to maintain proper management of the ponds.
Government through the various arms of the Ministry of Agriculture, has been encouraging agricultural diversification as a means of mitigating the challenges posed to food production by climate change.