Category Archives: Digital Stories

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CERES Global Trip 2015

Category:Digital Stories,East Timor

The trip to Timor-Leste between the 11th – 19th of June 2015 with CERES Global offered a unique opportunity to meet with various individuals and stakeholders from a range of backgrounds. This presented a valuable insight into a range of overlapping and cross cutting development directives, initiatives, programmes and projects being undertaken across scales. The stakeholders relevant to a mutually aligned project between CERES Global and AwF – include:

• Aileu Science and Technology Institute (ASTI)
• Family Life Centre, Aileu
• Peri urban community garden, Dili
• Mercy Corps
• World Fish
• Hivos
• Permatil

During the visit there were three broad national initiatives that were focused on increasing: food access and sustainable food production through school garden programs ; secondly, educating and increasing community capacity in sustainable farming and managing biodiversity and community resources through incorporating permaculture into the national curricula ; and lastly, bolstering food security through increasing access to local and regional aquaculture products for school meals.

Children are among the most vulnerable members in Timorese society: 58% suffer chronic malnutrition; 38% suffer from anaemia, malaria, diarrhoea and other diseases of children do not reach their ideal weight. The opportunity for providing meals to children from school gardens and to further educate students in food production and good nutrition is a big part of the solution.

This will be the first country globally to incorporate permaculture into its national school curricula. This will be potentially a massive milestone for permaculture. It is also important to point out that Aquaculture and aquatic agricultural systems or integrated water and resource management are key components of permaculture. There is the potential to work towards inclusion of aquaculture school projects, which build upon other initiatives or directives to reverse malnutrition and increase community knowledge and access to nutritious food.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is in the process of surveying and deciding upon multiple locations across Timor-Leste to establish aquaculture for the provision of fish for school meals. Total production scales are in the order of hundreds of hectares (total locations, areas and information on partners needs to be clarified). Aquaculture production will occur in provincial locations in proximity to schools.

Here is a link to the complete report.

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Shrimp Farming in Aceh

Category:Digital Stories,Indonesia

Shrimp farming is an important agricultural activity in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam. Prior to the tsunami, in 2003, Dinas Kelautan dan Perikanam estimate that Aceh produced 10,300 tonnes of shrimp valued at US $46.5 million. The major proportion of this shrimp production was the black tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) which made $41.8 million.

There are approximately 15,000 brackishwater farmers in Aceh, through typically they are small-scale farmers with less than two hectares of pond area. These figures only include farm owners or operators and therefore don’t take into account all the workers involved in the production supply chain such as labourers, input suppliers, traders, marketing and service provision. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates each hectare of pond provides direct employment to 1-3 people, with up to 200,000 people in Aceh, employed directly in brackishwater shrimp and fish farming.

Shrimps are stocked at low density. Low density allows for less usage of required feed and fertiliser inputs, for example many farmers do not feed for the first month of crop production relying on natural pond productivity to provide food for the juvenile shrimp. Some even wait till closer to harvest time, which in turn minimises environmental damage from nutrient release. Farmed shrimp are harvested at 20 to 30 grams in three to four months.

Shrimp species farmed in Aceh:

Black tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon):


  • Most commonly farmed species.
  • Well established hatchery techniques
  • Rapid growth.
  • Highly resilient to variations in salinity and pond temperature.
  • High demand.
  • Good quality produced in Aceh.

Species currently being developed for farming by Balai Budidaya Air Payau (Centre for Brackishwater Aquaculture Development) include:

White shrimp (Indicus):

Is a local shrimp species. Little is known about suitability of the species for aquaculture in Aceh.

Flower King (Penaeus merguensis):

Large fast growing shrimp similar to P. Monodon.

Species unsuitable to farm in Aceh:

White shrimp (Litopenaeus Vannamei):

  • Not native to Indonesia.
  • Brings disease such as Taura Syndrome Virus (TSV).
  • Requires super intensive production systems therefore a higher investment, hence it is not suitable for small scale farmers, as it is not financially viable.
  • Increased environmental impact due to intensive production system.
  • Greater international competition.
  • Prices are lower than black tiger shrimp and appear to have stabilised at EU5/kg whereas black tiger shrimp prices are predicted to increase.

Here is a link to the complete report.

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Aquaculture for the rural poor in Sundarban, West Bengal, India

Category:Digital Stories,India

Following positive results of a previous pilot project, JGVK developed a two year partnership with Aquaculture without Frontiers (AwF), supported by Toleo Foundation USA and with co-finance by Indian Group Funen (IGF), Denmark. The overall goal of the project was to alleviate poverty in the project area through expanded aquaculture production among the poor farmers. The specific objectives on the other hand were to:

(i) improve the capacity of 10 JGVK staff and 100 beneficiaries (poor local farmers) for optimizing the pond management of semi-intensive integrated carp-mola ponds in order to reach a production of 3-4 tons per hectare.

(ii) establish a small local hatchery to secure local availability of quality carp fingerlings.

(iii) secure supply of fingerlings to the local consumers through a number of local fish farmers.

Project Accomplishments:

  • JGVK staff were trained on hatching fish Juvenile, nursing, brooder fish management and pond preparation. Based on this training, JGVK staff organized orientation and trainings of local farmers.     
  • Mass awareness was conducted in the project area through the SHG members and students. The basic focus was the preservation of small local fishes, better and management and scientific farming
  • A small hatchery was set up with the guidance and support from experts like Dr. Nandeesha and his team. Total renu spawn production from the hatchery was 303,396,418 batis (one bati contain 30,000 fish spawn) respectively during years 2008-2010.

Accomplishments also include local availability of good quality fish Juveniles (spawn) from  hatchery and growing fish production in the area. Poor farmers earn money by selling  fingerlings, fries and fish. The cost benefit analysis of 11 nursery farmers shown that on average  they are getting Rs. 3000- 4000 as net income within 25-30 days.


Key lessons from the project

  • Improved knowledge base of farmers: Series of orientation, exposure by international, national and local experts and practical application/demonstration were useful to local poor farmers. Thus increasing  their cash income and nutritional content in their diet.
  • Infrastructure has created a positive impact in the area: The infrastructural facilities like setting up small hatchery, demonstration nursery and brooder pond at the JGVK campus motivate poor farmers and pond owners from surrounding areas for better fish farming.
  • Women are empowered: Through JGVK, women are mobilized to take care of their pond. Thus, they became more confident in their effort help to supplement their family income.Read More here: INDIA AwF-Toleo Foundation Sunderbans Project (Report July 2010)

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Visit to UTMarT and Aquaculture Learning Center Facilities in Tamaulipas, Mexico

Category:Digital Stories,Mexico

Visit to UTMarT and Aquaculture Learning Center Facilities in Tamaulipas, Mexico

AwF has signed a Cooperation Agreement with the Universidad Tecnológica Del Mar de  Tamaulipas Bicentenario (UTMarT). The aim of this agreement is to jointly develop food security and personal training in the International Center for Innovation and Technology Transfer for Aquaculture, which will be AwF’s first Aquaculture Learning Centre (ALC).


Day 1 – Tancol

We visited the ALC near Tampico. The site consists of several large concrete ponds, a meandering system of raceways and a series of smaller concrete ponds. We also saw the construction of a hatchery that is planned for catfish and other freshwater fish. Classrooms, labs and dorms are being constructed and renovated.

During our drive, we learned the following about oyster producers and markets:

  • They harvest oysters to fill orders e g. 100 shucked meat for 80 pesos (less than a penny a piece).
  • Harvested oysters are taken home and shucked before being sold to buyers who transport them to the city markets and restaurants.
  • There is no current exploration of half-shell markets that could significantly increase the price per oyster.
  • Selling chilled oysters in the shell would present new refrigeration and handling challenges.

One low cost alternative to explore is developing a hatchery with spat-on-shell capabilities. From this extra stock, fishermen could begin to explore culling the prettiest oysters and try to develop a market for oysters on the half shell.

Day 2 – La Pesca, UTMarT and Laguna Morales

Margorito, fisherman and president of the local fishing cooperative took us by boat to Laguna  Morales. He pulled up several clusters of oyster shells. Most of which were dead. We saw crab  traps that fishermen bait and set with colour-coded floats that they tend almost daily. This is a  good sign for the prospect of setting out oyster culture cages. Later that morning, we lectured over 45 university students in General Aquaculture with an  emphasis on shellfish aquaculture.


Day 3 – UTMarT and Villahermosa

We returned to the university to examine the oysters and the water sample that we collected  from the Languna on the previous day. Then, we taught a class at the university on microalgae  culture techniques to a couple of students and professors.Afterwards, we visited Villahermosa, a formerly state-run aquaculture facility recently turned  over to the university. Here, there is a pumping station from the river that supplies extensive  outdoor ponds A newer building is being designed and constructed for a shellfish hatchery with  an estimated production capacity of about 10-15 million eyed-oyster larvae in a 4 week period.

Day 4 – Meeting with Fishermen Cooperatives

We convened a meeting with 9 fishermen and they were all eager to expand their oyster harvests by means of better management, more open areas and possibly culturing them. We described various methods of collecting natural spat and ways of enhancing natural production. They expressed interest in aquaculture and appeared ready to try to plant seed oysters in bags as we had described.


The educational, research and productive potential of fresh and saltwater aquaculture facilities at Tancol and Villahermosa are tremendous. The UTMarT staff who accompanied us and others we met are inspirational teachers and evidently have the expertise to launch the Villahermosa facility. The fishermen/producers we met are motivated to improve their fishing opportunities and trying basic oyster culture methods.

F2F AwF Volunteer Assignments #15 & 16

Scott Lindell  and Rick Karney

Read More here:
MEXICO: AwF-UA Farmer-to-Farmer Programme (Trip Report November 2013)



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Poverty Alleviation Through Small Scale Aquaculture

Category:Bangladesh,Digital Stories

Poverty Alleviation Through Small Scale Aquaculture

RDRS Project

Aquaculture is playing a vital role in the rural life for the farming people. Farmers in Bangladesh have a hard time simply generating enough food during certain seasons of the year. So much so that they’ve named these seasons “The Monga Period” – Translating roughly to “The Months of Death”.  These months make it near impossible to harvest crop due to seasonal drought. That said, 92% of the water being used by these farmers for their crops come from rivers making them more dependent on seasonal water. Luckily a new solution has appeared to generate food during “The Monga” Period.
The maximum daily source of animal protein comes from fish. Most of rural farmers have small ponds to culture fish. This project has been contributing extra income and sufficient fish consumption to the involved farmers’ household, thus boosting their knowledge of aquaculture and connections needed to learn more.  Fish culture is becoming as stable source of family income for these rural farming families as well.  
Not only does working the pongs give the farmers work to do but it also enables women and children to participate in fish culture easily. Which in turn helps to change the perspective and culture around female gender stereotypes and empowers women to work.

In the fourth year, total of Tk 343000.00 ($4174 USD) was distributed to the project participants Via AwF’s Help. The farmers used this money for purchasing fingerlings, lime, feed and fertilizer. The volunteers assisted the farmers for maintaining quality of the inputs. This revolving fund is interest free financial supports that make the farmer confident for stocking in time and ensured feeding to fish and fertilizing in pond.

These Ponds not only supply an effective source of income but also create a new source of nutrition and food for the family. The training and ongoing support from the project give the farmers them confidence towards fishing and fish culture, enabling them to move forward and potentially grow out into different areas.

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Nepal – Project Proforma

Category:Digital Stories,Nepal

From 2008 to 2010 Dr. Madhav K. Shrestha, Chair of the Aquaculture Department at the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, Nepal, led Project Proforma. Project Proforma focused on empowering women through aquaculture and vegetable gardening in rural areas of Nepal.

Malnutrition, especially shortage of protein and vitamins, is a serious problem in rural Nepal, with various reports showing that about 90% children suffer from one or more forms of malnutrition. Employment of women in the county is also a significant issue in the country, with more than half of Nepalese women are still illiterate and have difficulty in gaining employment. This project aimed to tackle both of these issues by:
establishing an “AwF – Model Village” and two women’s fish farming groups
training women in small-scale pond fish culture
assisting in the construction of fish ponds
assisting women to earn supplemental income while working at home
increasing women’s participation in social activities

By the end of the 24 month project, the participation of women in training, other project activities and group meetings enhanced the status of women in the society, and their income was increased through fish and vegetable sales. The fish and produce produced are also valuable food sources, and aim to reduce the malnutrition levels in the country.

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Category:Bangladesh,Digital Stories

Bangladesh is no stranger to poverty. Unfortunately the women there are no exception.
Take Monoara For example: She lives in Bangladesh. She has a small family of just two sons and a daughter. Her husband works earnestly day in and out. But yet He can not earn enough to afford his family with his limited income. Her Husband’s tenacity gives gives Monoara strength, but what can she do with it?

The primary aim of this project was to introduce a new way of generating income to women like Monoara and many more. The solution was to introduce low input cage culture technology to poor women beneficiaries in two upazilas (Faridganj and Jhalokathi) of Bangladesh. In total, 35 women were chosen. The majority of whom have a pond near their house, most of which are under multiple ownership and used for household work as well as fish culture; however, beneficiaries have no previous experience in cage culture technology.

Low-input cage aquaculture offers a profitable option for rural women along with other activities such as homestead gardening, poultry and goat rearing, as an additional part of their households income. Cage culture enhances the status of women in the communities, thus changing the culture of the area for women, not just their income situation! Cage culture technology has the future for significant contribution to fish production in Bangladesh, especially in the communities where livelihoods and nutritional status is a major problem. And it can all be started for minimal amounts of Money

Monoara had just 3 days of training to operate her fish cage set up. Afterwhich she started going to work to help her family, and help her family she did: The total costs of the setup were about 1780TK ($22 USD), the gross sale was 2822.4 ($35 USD) which means the total Net Profit 1032.6 ($13 USD). This Might not sound like much, but in financial terms that’s an Return on Interest of almost 40%! Which is huge. As for Bangladesh food prices… well a single loaf of bread goes for just 13¢ USD. With those profits, that’s 100 Loaves of bread generated by these fish cages. That’s enough to make anyone happy, and Monoara was no exception.




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Kenyan Flag

Kenya – Holy Will Project

Category:Digital Stories,Kenya

Holy Will Women Group, a community based organization that works with families ravaged with HIV/AIDS in the County of Homa Bay, successfully entered into a partnership with Aquaculture without Frontiers in implementing a food-security initiative that aims to scale-up fish farming to mitigate poverty among smallholders in Homa Bay County of Kenya.

With AwF’s support, the Holy Will Women Group successfully fenced off the farming area which has greatly improved the security at the farm. Additionally, three additional fish ponds were constructed in order to increase farming capacity; the new ponds were stocked with two batches of Tilapia fingerlings, with the first batch consisting of 2,000 fingerlings. The acquisition of the fish stocking was arranged by the Ministry of Fisheries. The total project cost $307,000.00 Kenyan Shillings, or about $3,789.96 AUD, with most costs covering fencing tools and equipment.

KENYA: AwF-Holy Will Project (First report November 2011)

Holy Will Project