“Your water is your gold”, says expert in fish farming

“Your water is your gold”, says expert in fish farming

During his visit to Bolivia from January 10 to 31, 2016, Dr. Luiz Eduardo de Freitas, an expert in fish food and nutrition from the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) emphasized the importance of water management and good fish feed.

Dr. de Freitas was pleased to see first-hand how fish farming is done in the Bolivian Amazon basin, as people show much enthusiasm and are "doing what they can with what they have." He felt that the sector is entering a critical stage due to declining water quality in ponds that will create new problems and undoubtedly losses to fish farmers.

The balanced fish feed that is available in Bolivia is not of the best quality. However, Dr. De Freitas says that "much can be improved by changing just a few things." Farming families can demand improvement in feed quality and also take advantage of partnerships created by the Peces para la Vida II Project through the creation of platforms ("roundtables") with fish feed factory owners.

Dr. Freitas taught a module on Fish Food and Nutrition in the Fish Culture Technical Assistant course being presented by the Integrated Faculty of Ichilo (UAGRM) and the Project. In the course, he told the 38 male and female technicians and leading producers that "good water management is also about good feed management. If fish do not consume their feed ration in the span of 20 minutes, the excess feed must be removed to prevent it from sinking and contaminating the water. "
Dr. de Freitas accompanied the Peces para la Vida II team to strategic meetings with governmental and non-governmental institutions such as CAOR, SENASAG, IPD PACU and HOYAM to identify common ground and opportunities for collaboration. The development of fish farming depends on the entire production chain, including producers, suppliers of goods, juveniles, feed and equipment, fish sellers, and consumers, as well as related supporting institutions that can provide technological and governmental support.

During his visit Dr. de Freitas was able to identify problems and opportunities stating that "the potential for fish farming in Bolivia is enormous. It’s just a matter of time for it to become one of the highest fish producing countries in South America, but for this to be possible, it’s important that the government consider policies for farming families and for mid and large business owners”.

Brazil has much experience in tropical fish farming, offering a great opportunity to take advantage of the lessons learned there to assist in the strong development of tropical fish culture industry in Bolivia.

Thanks to the coordination of WFT with EMBRAPA, Dr. de Freitas is the second Brazilian Aquaculture Specialist to visit Bolivia with Peces para la Vida II. His experience helped male and female Bolivian fish farmers respond to a series of problems which were identified in a participatory way with Dr. Paulo C. Cecarelli, of Brazil’s ICMBio in June 2015 (See Critical Factors in Aquaculture Report).

Widen Abastofor, CEPAC, widen@cepac.org.bo
Tiffanie Rainville, WFT, anie@worldfish.org
Álvaro Céspedes, IMG, lorcespedes@gmail.com

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