New Zealand Aid_Partnership for Aquaculture Development in Timor-Leste_Six monthly Report_1 July 2018 to 30 December 2018
- Partnership for Aquaculture Development in Timor-Leste (PADTL), a five-year project funded by New Zealand Aid program, is aimed to assist Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), Government of Timor-Leste in implementing its Aquaculture Development Strategy (ADS). The project directly supports delivery of priority aquaculture projects as identified in the Aquaculture Development Strategy Implementation Plan (ADSIP) 2014-18. It has the objective of contributing towards development of a self-sustaining aquaculture industry that improves nutrition, food security, and rural livelihood. PADTL project has made significant progress towards producing key outputs and outcomes over the period of last six months (July –December 2018). The project has been fostering partnership from grassroots to national level. Preparation for Second National Aquaculture Forum is well underway. The Forum will serve as an important platform for all stakeholders to share their visions, activities, challenges and opportunities for aquaculture development in Timor-Leste. MAF has agreed to play a coordinating role in the Forum and plans to continue it as an annual event. At grass-roots level, farmers are organized in functional groups and clusters and are strongly connected to key stakeholders like Suco officials, fisheries officials at municipality level, and others. Mentoring NDA staff -- both at Central and local levels -- is continuing. Consequently, there has been a notable improvement in knowledge and skill of NDA staff involved in the project, which is reflected by increased survival of eggs and fry at GIFT hatchery in Gleno; regular update of hatchery database with a minimal support; and active participation of local level fisheries staff as co-facilitator in Farmers’ First School (FFS) training. Whilst special focus of the project has been on quality seed, low-cost feed, and viable aquaculture technology, a remarkable progress has been made towards devising a sustainable aquaculture development model with potential for scaling across Timor-Leste. The important features of the project included (i)establishment of a state-of-the-art tilapia hatchery, low-cost feed, and feeding and fertilization options for small-scale fish farmers; (ii) FFS and group- and cluster-based approach used for fostering farmers’ institutions and transferring viable aquaculture technologies; and (iii) development of better management practices (BMPs) guidelines, all of which contribute directly to the development of sustainable tilapia aquaculture systems in Timor-Leste. The role of PADTL project in improving food and nutrition security and income of farmers is being realized. An extrapolated tilapia productivity was estimated at 4.3 tons/ha in 2018, which is comparable to productivity realized elsewhere in a semi-intensive fish production system with reliance on low-cost pond inputs. A total of over 9.0 t fish was produced (Gross return = USD 36,000) by PADTL project participants. Nearly 50% of the fish produced was used for household consumption, improving household food and nutrition security. The household income of the farmers was also augmented through the sale of the remaining fish, which was equivalent to over USD 18,000. Scaling of successful seed, feed, and tilapia grow-out technologies is not possible without the involvement of private sector. Therefore, a GIFT multiplication hatchery based on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model is currently being established in Leohitu, Bobonaro, which is expected to come to an operation by April 2019. Technicians (from public as well as private hatcheries) are provided with in-country training and selected ones are also scheduled to attend expert-level training at Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) Thailand in February 2019. Besides, feed formulation options using locally-available resources are being practiced by farmers and private sector producers are provided with recommended formulation options for commercial production of floating pellets. Attempts are also being made to address policy constraints regarding importation of a few key feed ingredients. Whilst an impressive progress has been made so far in terms of devising sustainable aquaculture development model for Timor-Leste, significant investment in the sector is required for scaling and further improving the productivity so that its potential for contributing towards improving food and nutrition security and creating lasting impact on the livelihoods of a large number of rural households across the country can be realized.
- Sustainable aquaculture