Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Moonlighting fish farmer



The common expression “moonlighting” usually refers to someone doing a second job after hours, without the knowledge of his day-time employer.

But working by the light of the moon is no secondary occupation for a very determined young man from Timini village in the Bulolo district.

Jeremiah Yapu has a full time day job: he is a Year 11 student at Bugandi near Lae.

He also copes with a disability of having one hand smaller than the other, the result of an accident when he was nine years old.

Somewhere along the road of his life, this fourth-born son acquired an interest in fish farming.

His enthusiasm passed to his father Yapu Nason, back home in the village, who supported his son in the construction of two fish ponds, in 2008.

Working by the light of the moon, because it makes the heavy digging a little easier away from the heat of the sun, Yapu now has three fish ponds stocked with breeding and fast-growing fish.

A fourth pond is under construction, driven by the success the father and son team have achieved in selling fish at Zenag market.

Yapu has sold table-sized super tilapia for K10 each, and table-sized common carp for K8.

Father and son, as well as younger brother Mark Yapu, recently attended two weeks of business training for Mumeng local level government (LLG) fish farmers.

Far from seeing himself as disabled, the 19-year-old said the business training, provided by Morobe Mining and the Hidden Valley project, had helped him to see the importance of starting small revenue-generating projects, and keeping them in operation.

 “I thank MMJV and the trainers for the valuable training, where I have learned a lot,” Yapu said.

“The training has helped me to budget the money earned from the sale of my fish.”

The fish farming course was attended by 38 participants, a good number of whom were young men.

Among them were four female participants, and MMJV said it was encouraging to see that so many of the participants were young people.

Speaking at the closing of the two weeks of training, general manager of sustainability and external relations, David Wissink said the company was happy to support this grassroots programme.

Wissink said not everyone would get jobs at the mine and the company was assisting those who will remain in the village so that they also have an opportunity to earn some money through small projects such as fish farming, coffee, cocoa and other products.

He also encouraged the farmers that their fish should not only be for sale, but a new food source for family consumption as well.


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