Cambodia has abundant freshwater fisheries resources produced by Tonle-Sap Lake and the Mekong River. Freshwater fish are the source of animal protein, which local people can most easily obtain. In fact, fish products account for about 75% of the animal protein consumed by the people of Cambodia. Annual consumption of fish products per capita is estimated at 52.4 kg. However, the main fishing grounds are limited to Tonle-Sap Lake and the basin of the Mekong River, moreover the distribution infrastructure is not well developed. As a result, the supply of freshwater fish is always low in other rural areas.

It is considered that aquaculture could be a solution to increase the nutrition available as well as to provide additional income source to local farmers, as it is known that the potential demand for small-scale aquaculture using paddy fields, canals and ponds is very high.  However, many rural communities have little experience with fish culture. There exists a lack of awareness of the benefits of this food source. In addition, there are local shortages of the required raw materials (fish eggs, fish fry and juvenile fish etc.) for farmers to practice fish culture.

The project pursues aquaculture extension by making use of Farmer-to-Farmer (FTF) approach in which seed producers instruct aquaculture techniques to small-scale farmers and provide them with seeds. The three steps of technical transfer were executed in Phase 1, namely 1) from experts to extension officers, 2) from extension officers to seed producers, and 3) from seed producers to small-scale farmers. Phase 2 builds on and expands this approach and made a plan of implementation to bring up 45 core seed producing farmers (CSPF) and the project aims for more than 3,000 grow-out fish farmers to be trained by CSPFs in 4 years from 2011 to 2014.

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JICA / NACA / DOF International Symposium on Small-scale Freshwater Aquaculture Extension

The symposium provided a venue for information sharing on extension of small-scale aquaculture targeted to those individuals and relevant organisations involved in various aquaculture development projects. The symposium also assessed and presented the effectiveness of “farmer-to-farmer extension” approaches in the implementation of relevant aquaculture development projects in the region. The symposium was organised by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), NACA and the Thai Department of Fisheries.