BATU – THE ETHIOPIAN HERALD Newspaper 12 MAY 2016: The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has launched Nutrition-Oriented Community-Based Fish Farming Project aimed at improving dietary diversity in Zway Dugda woreda of Arsi Zone, Oromia State at a cost of 400,000 USD.
A human made pond would be created on 3.5 hectares of land in the woreda benefiting over 700,000 residents living in the environs, according to Project Manager Dr. Tanisho Shigeki.
The Manager told the Ethiopian Press Agency journalists recently that the four-year project would as well back the nutritional health strategy of the government as it works to improve quality production and consumption of fish.
Dr. Tanisho said that the residents would acquire lesson on how to fish in a quality manner for commercial as well as consumption purposes. Thus, nutrition-oriented community-based fish farming system is established in the area endowed with water and fishing.
Woreda Administrator Mussa Forro noted that over 138,000 residents have been assisted by the government as they were victims of El Nino-induced drought. Thus, food self-sufficiency system should be established to withstand the burdens of the drought as the project is one of such interventions.
“We have never effectively utilized the fish farming potential in Zway Lake as the residents are not well trained in fishing and utilizing as alternative food item,” Mussa noted.
The Administrator is hopeful that after the completion of the project, the residents and unemployed youths would acquire fishing skills unemployed youths would acquire fishing skills from JICA and benefit from jobs created for the business.
In this regard, Mussa underscored that his woreda is responsible in organizing the residents to cooperate with JICA since it helps ensure food self-sufficiency.
Oromia State Fishery and Livestock Development Bureau Acting Head Etana Ejjeta noted that the State accounts for 40 per cent of the country’s fish resource. However, the sector has never been exploited in a way that contributes to national development.
Etana said this is due to lack of awareness and skills on how to fishing and utilizing in an organized manner.
According to him, considering its significant contribution to the economy the government is taking various measures to boost the resource. According to the Ministry of Livestock and Fishery, currently, the nation’s fishing capacity has reached 50,000 tonnes and efforts are underway to raise it to 96,000 tonnes by the end of GTP II.
The Bureau would exert utmost effort to engage local communities around lakes to tap fish resources in a better way rather than traditional means, that poses threat to the fishing sector. Traditional fishing has not been ensuring quality products, he said.
Thanks to the efforts made to change the old scenario, some 18 households voluntarily handed over their 3.2 hectares of land to the artificial pond. The project would never pose any environmental damages as the pond will hold water from Keter River diversion which is a tributary to Lake Zway.
BY FANUEL LAKEW