AFAMBO, Afar State -- Ahmed Yesuf and Abdulkadir Haferai are neighbors live in Afambo woreda of Afar State since their childhood period. Gemeri Lake is adjacent to their village. They used to collect fishes from the lake at least for household consumption. They don't think the fish resource from the lake could bring considerable income. Rather they tend to collect coin from helping tourists who visited the area.
Absence of potential market and traditional ways of fishing have affected their benefits. They sell a fish up to 20 Birr if they get buyers. Otherwise no market at all. They complained that if there is a town near by or whole sellers who receive fish products, it would be easy to benefit from the resource. They demand for training and infrastructure facilities to make better earnings from the fish resource.
Having a lake with full of fish, Ahmed, Abdulkadir and other pastorals living around the lake were not beneficial for years. This is the case for many pastorals and farmers across the country as the resources are there but untapped.
The Gemeri Lake has over 200 new fish species. It is expected that the lake would have huge fishes, according to woreda natural resource department.
According to Livestock and Fishery Development Ministry the government has planned to increase fish production from 50,000 to 96,000 tonne using lake, dams, rivers, other small water bodies and practicing the aquaculture. The fish production is expected to register 15 per cent of annual average growth in the second Growth and Transformation Plan.
Since the ecosystem is ideal for aquaculture it would be reliable source for fish production.
Government is undertaking a rehabilitation work on lakes including Tana, Logo Ardibo, Ziway, Langano, Awassa, Abaya, Chamo and Koga dam with a view to enhancing the fish production.
Introducing fishery management system, addressing illegal fishing, establishing Kebele Fishery Management Unit and collecting daily information on the productivity of the lake is one among the major plan, according to the ministry.
Some 15,450 rural youth and women are expected to benefit through fishing, preparing fast food, processing fish and selling etc. Providing training, modern fishing materials, searching market linkage, recruiting and offering training for extension workers are part of the second GTP.
According to the ministry, two aquaculture model centers would be established in some selected highland and lowland areas. The centers including chicken breeding, fish fodder preparation/fattening pond etc. They provide improved seeds and forage as well as practical training for farmers, extension workers and investors. For investors interested to engage in fishery government would provide input and loan.
More than 40,000 farmers, pastorals and others are expected to benefit form the Fish Development Technology Extension and aquaculture packages.
In addressing the shortage of skilled human resource in the sector government is training in under and post graduate programs. For instance, the number of post graduate participants would increase from 150 to 317 in the second GTP period.
BY GIRMACHEW GASHAW