FAO embarks on fishpond construction in four districts in Sierra Leone
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources is construction forty fishponds in four districts in the country through the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) titled, Sustainable Aquaculture for Food Security, Livelihood and Nutrition Project in Sierra Leone.
The project will retool human resources and provide technical and material support to farmers in Bo, Kenema, Tonkolili and Kono Districts in order to improve the capacity of rural communities in the establishment and management of fishponds.
Also, the project is expected to contribute to increased food security and improved livelihood and nutrition status for the rural households in Sierra Leone with key focus on equipping rural communities with the relevant and adequate knowledge and skills to establish and manage fishponds.
Viability of the project
The investment of TCP funds in an aquaculture project in Sierra Leone is important as this sector has received little attention and yet has the potential to contribute immensely to the economy of the Country.
The TCP is entrenched within the frameworks of the government’s Agenda for Prosperity (AfP), the country’s third generation Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper; FAO Sierra Leone Country Programme Framework (CPF) and FAO global Strategic Objectives. In an effort to diversify the economy, the fisheries sector has been identified as an important component in the AfP, improve food security through enhancement of livelihoods.
According to the Head of Aquaculture in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Lahai Seisay, “the ministry has identified fish farming as a viable alternative, not only for increasing fish availability but also potentially makes important contributions to household economy and employment.”
As a result, the promotion of aquaculture within non-coastal potential communities is now a high priority of the Ministry.
Equipping rural communities
After the construction of the ponds, the project will develop training modules and manuals for 20 ABCs and other fish farming groups trained in aquaculture; distribute fingerlings and fish feeds to same smallholder farmers; secure the access to sufficient good quality fish seed; develop farmers’ capacity to produce good quality and accessible feed.
The TCP is intended to contribute to the creation of livelihood opportunities that have the tendency to generate income and ensure temporary and permanent jobs for the women and youths within the project areas. Already, the project has created employment for eight hundred youths in the beneficiary communities who are provided daily wages for excavating the ponds.