FAO fish farm project provides livelihoods

FAO fish farm project Youths in Guinea-Bissau show the produce of the FAO fish farm project

Youths in Guinea-Bissau have learnt to farm fish in floating cages to help produce food, diversify income and employment prospects and boost the country’s sustainability.

Around 15 young people have taken part in the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations-supported project to set up three sites filled with 45 floating cages. FAO provided the construction materials including nets, tools, fingerlings and fish feed, plus helped the young people monitor the project for six months – the time it takes for the fingerlings to grow into full-bodied, healthy fish.

Project participants built the cages and moored them up the river from Pitche village in the far east of Guinea-Bissau. Then they filled each cage with 2,000 fingerlings, which required stepping from one small wooden plank to another on the floating structure.

Far-reaching benefits

Over the next six months, they fed the fish three times a day, kept watch for lizards and birds, cleaned the nets and monitored the water level. Every month, they would weigh the fish to ensure they grew at the right speed and adjust the feed.

At harvest time FAO said the tilapia, which previously would have been brought from the capital, was in high demand. This enabled the participants to invest part of the earning to buy fingerlings and feed for the following cycle. Now, during each cycle, the young people farm about 90,000 fish or about 22.5t of fish. Per year, this amounts to about 45t of fish.

The youth also built a hatchery so fingerlings could be supplied locally in the future. This has provided employment opportunities for more villagers.

If funds become available, FAO aims to train more youth in aquaculture in Guinea-Bissau and in the region, and to form cooperatives so that the fish farming initiatives can remain sustainable.

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