By SOLDIER BURUKA of DAL
Aquaculture (fish farming) is one of the main activities carried out by the Department of Agriculture and Livestock’s Agriculture and Resource Development Centre (ARDC) at Erap, outside Lae.
The interest in the inland fish farming programme is high and there is still very high demand for fish fingerlings to be supplied to farmers in many rural communities.
|Aquaculture section field assistant, Karl Pewa, does some cleaning up of the fish tank. Facilities need to be improved, he says|
|DAL staff checking on one of several large fish ponds at Erap station|
The ARDC, under the department’s food security branch, is working hard to meet the demand despite lack of adequate skilled manpower and funding resources.
However, the department is determined to continue working to maintain the aquaculture programme because of the demand and interest still shown by farmers in many rural communities.
Recently, farmers from as far as Oro and Milne Bay provinces have requested for fingerlings to be supplied.
Officer-in-charge of ARDC, Ario Movis, says despite the constraints, the centre is still trying its best to cater for the many requests from the farmers.
He said inland fish farming was still an attractive agricultural activity and people realised that it was important for protein purposes and income-earning as well.
Movis and DAL’s Northern Regional caretaker director, John Javes, both agreed that ARDC was in a good location along the highway connecting other provinces and such agricultural programs needed to be fully sustained to provide services to the farmers.
They said current rundown facilities at the centre needed upgrading and more funding resources.
They said that hatchery facilities in the aquaculture development section must be improved for continuation of the breeding programme for fingerlings to meet the high demand.
Inland fish farming or aquaculture has attracted a lot of interest and many farmers are keen to set up small ponds to breed fingerlings and grow carp, trout and other types of freshwater fish.