In Myanmar, the agriculture and fisheries sector plays a crucial role in contributing to the social and economic development where the people are traditionally great consumers of rice and fish. Fish is regarded as one of the most important diets for the Myanmar people since more than 70% of animal protein is taken from fishery products.
It has been reported, however, that people in the rural areas, particularly those who live far from the main river systems suffer from a deficiency of animal protein due to insufficient supply of fish. The majority of those are needy farmers and they depend only on crop cultivation for their livelihood. In this situation, development of small-scale aquaculture is considered as a potential measure to address these problems. Small-scale aquaculture in low investment and in easy techniques is expected to provide opportunities for rural poor population to improve their livelihood through generating additional income sources as well as raising their nutritional condition. However, due to various constraints such as insufficient number and knowledge of extension staff, undeveloped rural extension system and limited budget from the government, the extension services on small-scale aquaculture are not well delivered in Myanmar.
In this context, the Department of Fisheries, Myanmar, in cooperation with JICA implemented the Project (Small-scale Aquaculture Extension for Promotion of Livelihood of Rural Communities in Myanmar Project - SAEP) from 2009 to 2013. The main objective of the project was to improve livelihood of rural communities through extending appropriate small-scale aquaculture practices, such as small pond culture, paddy-cum fish culture, small-scale fish seed production and fry nursery, among others. The project targeted three (3) State/Regions (Ayeyarwaddy, Bago Region and Kayin State) wherein the selected farmers/communities were experimentally carrying out small-scale aquaculture under the supervisions of the Project. The Project also tried to establish a system, what so called “Farmer-to-Farmer (FTF)” extension, which was expected to make sure that farmers are able to start aquaculture autonomously without much dependence on extension service by government. For “FTF”, the project selected well-motivated farmers and trained them not only on aquaculture and seed production techniques, but also on extension methodologies, so that they became core farmers. They are expected to supply healthy fish seeds produced by themselves as well as disseminate technical information to other farmers in the area.
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