A rural community in the Western Highlands province of Ogga saw 50 people attend a five-day fish farming training.
The training was led by local resident Australia Awards Alumnus, Brian Yak.
Among the 50 people who attended the training, 15 women and three people living with disabilities participated and acquired new skills and knowledge on fish farming.
Mr. Yak completed a short course in Agribusiness at the University of New England and graduated with a Certificate IV in 2018.
He used the knowledge and skills acquired while studying in Australia to facilitate training and encourage fish farmers to open businesses.
“Since the end of the project last year, young people in the community have shown continued interest in joining the Mt Ogga Cooperative Society and raising fish to improve their livelihoods,” he said.
With the aim of improving the livelihoods and food security of his local community, Brian successfully applied for a K30,000 Australia Awards grant from the Alumni Grant Program to improve fish production and food security for the people. from Mount Ogga.
One participant, Joseph Abel said, “Before this fish farming project, I was involved in petty crimes.
But when Brian approached the community about this project, I saw it as an opportunity for change.
This project has been a blessing for me. I grew spiritually and went to church for the first time in August 2021.”
Sabina Poles added: “Before the fish farming project, women were involved in the game.
“But that has changed since the start of the project.
Women now actively support their husbands who are members of the cooperative society. It has become a shared family responsibility.
The fish farming project has built the capacity of members of the Mt Ogga Cooperative Society and enabled them to understand the dynamics of fish farming.
With their newly acquired skills and knowledge, community members are now able to increase production, improve marketing and better manage fish production.
Farmed fish include carp and tilapia species.
Production exists from fry or offspring raised in ponds.
“This project has the potential to transform to a commercial level and I see that happening in the near future,” Yak said.
Two positive outcomes of the training included fingerlings distributed to each family member of training participants, which resulted in the establishment of family fish ponds.
Brian agreed that aquaculture is key to development. Potential challenges include lack of access to affordable fish feed and quality fish seed among smallholder farmers.