Aquaculture or inland fish farming is one of the main activities carried out by the Department of Agriculture and Livestock’s Agriculture and Resource Development Centre (ARDC) at Erap near Lae, Morobe province. Interest in fish farming is high with huge demand for fingerlings by farmers in many rural communities.
The ARDC, under the department’s Food Security branch, is working hard to meet the demand despite lack of adequate skilled manpower and funding resources. Recently farmers from as far as Oro and Milne Bay provinces have requested for fingerlings to be supplied.
ARDC Officer-in-charge ArioMovis says despite constraints, the centre has been responding positively to the many requests by farmers. He said inland fish farming is still an attractive agricultural activity as people are realising it as an important activity for protein supplement and household income.
Mr Movis and John Jave (DAL’s Northern Regional Caretaker Director) agreed that ARDC is strategically located along the highlands highway connecting many provinces and such agricultural programs need to be fully sustained to provide services to the farmers. They said current rundown facilities at the centre needed upgrading and more funding resources also made available.
They said that hatchery facilities in the aquaculture development section must be improved for continuation of the breeding program for fingerlings to meet the high demand. Many farmers are keen to set up small ponds to breed fingerlings and grow carp, trout and other types of freshwater fish.