By: JONAS CULLWICK/Vanuatu Daily Post
The Department of Fisheries through its culture of tilapia and fresh water prawns is reaching out to more farmers in the country to make use of the program for both food security and income generating purposes.
Andrew William, Aquaculture Officer of the department of Fisheries says the main reason for the culture of tilapia and prawns is mainly for food security purposes “and when you have a surplus, you can add in as income generating activities”.
He explained to a group of journalists from media organizations in Port Vila attending a training workshop on reporting climate change issues when they went on a field trip to the department’s aquaculture centre at Tagabe in Port Vila that the department started the facility in 2009.
“The same year we rolled out the program and started to reach out to farmers especially in Efate, and later to Santo then to islands in other parts of Vanuatu,” William said.
“We have several farms in Vanuatu, especially Efate and Santo who are the two main islands that are culturing tilapia at the moment.”
He added that they started fresh water prawns and were starting to promote species in other islands also. Williams said in 2004, they started trials and the results were successful and they are looking at going into commercial scales. They tested out small scales, small pond size, and they found that they were all very productive and now they want to do this on a larger scale.
“So, when you spend on constructing ponds, your returns will be bigger than your expenses. That’s part of our research, we started here in 2004 and now it’s growing.”
“One reason why they we are thinking of starting this program is because nowadays climate change is becoming an issue with us today especially in the coastal communities around Vanuatu, where many people depend a lot on the coastal marine resources,” Aquaculture Officer Andrew William repeated.
“But as the impact of climate change is increasing, there’ll not be enough marine resources to sustain the communities.
“That’s why we introduce inland farming of fresh water tilapia and prawn to supplement on the decrease of marine resources.”