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Project of the Government of Jamaica


Title: Pilot project for Freshwater Prawn Culture

Number:Duration: Two years
Primary Functions: Fisheries Development - Prawn Farming
Secondary Functions: Direct support to Government development plans
Sector: 05 - Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Sub-Sector: 0530 - Fisheries 
Government Implementing Agency:
Executing Agency: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Estimated Starting Date: January 1981
Government Inputs:UNDP Inputs:

on behalf of the Government
on behalf of the Executing Agency
on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme


This Project Document shall be the instrument referred to as such in Article I, paragraph 1, of the Assistance Agreement between the Government of Jamaica and the United Nations Development Programme, signed by the Parties on . The organizational and procedural conditions governing the project are detailed in Annex I.1


II.A Development Objectives

The Government of Jamaica in its 5-year Development Plan (19 –19) has strongly emphasized the need to increase food production, including aquaculture products. With this aim in mind, the Government in 1977 started a large fish culture (Tilapis) project. The Government now intends to diversify aquaculture activities and would like to embark on freshwater prawn culture with a view to achieving the following development objectives:

  1. to increase production of animal protein through development of aquaculture for domestic consumption and export, and

  2. to create employment opportunities and higher level of income for rural fish farmers.

II.B Immediate Objectives

The immediate objectives of this pilot project are to determine the economic and technical feasibility of culturing freshwater prawn (M. rosenbergii) in Jamaica, and to train the local aquaculturists in both pond grow-out and hatchery technology.

II.C Special Considerations


II.D Background and Justification

A large freshwater fish (Tilapia) culture project is in progress in Jamaica. The project started in 1977 and by mid-1980, with the assistance of the Government, 120 small farmers had started culturing fish. The Government's experimental and demonstration station at Twickenham Park is well equipped and has ponds of varying sizes with a total water surface area of approximately 2 ha. The Government also maintains a fish farm (32.8 ha) at Mitchell Town, which is used for producing fingerlings as well as marketable food fish. Serious considerations are now being given both by the public and private sectors to the establishment of commercial Tilapia farms.

Attempts to culture freshwater prawn in Jamaica were made by private enterprises in the early seventies. For various reasons, believed to be other than technical, these attempts failed to achieve their objectives. During the last decade, the technology of freshwater prawn culture (both hatchery and pond grow-out) has progressed to the extent that at present a number of tropical countries are engaged in culturing freshwater prawns. The most noteworthy among these ventures are the successful operations in Hawaii (U.S.A.) and Thailand. In Hawaii the production system is based on sophisticated technology and as a result the operations are capital intensive, whereas the Government of Thailand, with the assistance of FAO/UNDP, has successfully developed appropriate low-level technology for culturing freshwater prawns. At present in Thailand there are many prawn farms of varying sizes - from commercial farms owned by private enterprises to small farmers culturing prawns in village ponds, the latter being assisted by the Government through its extension services. In 1979, Thailand had produced approximately 300 tons of freshwater prawns.

1 Annex I is a standard text, not found necessary for inclusion in this document

Like Thailand, Jamaica is a tropical developing country and the freshwater prawn culture technology that has been developed there could be adapted to Jamaican conditions. Moreover, Jamaica's internal market demand (including the tourist industry), as well as export potential, also supports the rationale for starting such an operation in Jamaica.

For the purpose of this pilot project, the prawns will be raised in the existing ponds at the fisheries station, Twickenham Park. For the first grow-out trial the ponds will be stocked with imported post-larvae. A small hatchery will be established at an appropriate location. In this regard, efforts will be made to establish a close working relationship with the University of the West Indies. The hatchery is expected to produce a sufficient number of post-larvae for subsequent grow-out experiments in ponds. At the end of the two-year period the results of the pilot studies will be evaluated to determine technical and economic feasibility of culturing freshwater prawns in Jamaica. Local production of post larvae and juvenile and pilot scale grow-out studies are essential to determine the feasibility of prawn farming in this country.

II.E Outputs

  1. Development of freshwater prawn (M. rosenbergii) culture technology appropriate to Jamaican conditions.

  2. An economic assessment of prawn culture as a basis for investment.

  3. Training of local technical personnel in all aspects of freshwater prawn culture.

II.F Activities

The following activities will be carried out under the project in order to produce the above outputs.

Project ActivitiesLocationPeriod
1. Import post-larvae for first stockingFrom the region1–2/811–2/81
2. First grow-out of imported post-larvaeTwickenham Park1–2/817–8/81
3. Establish hatcheryLocation to be selected2/81   7/81    
4. Hatchery operationLocation to be selected8/81   12/82  
5. Subsequent grow-out in pondsTwickenham Park10/81 12/82 

II.G Inputs

1. Government inputs

Ponds at Twickenham Park and suitable physical facilities for a hatchery will be made available by the Government. Full-time services of qualified technical staff will be provided by the Government. The Government will also provide office facilities.

2. UNDP/FAO inputs

(a) International Staff

The project will require the services of an experienced prawn culturist for a period of one year. Provision is also made for 2 m/m of specialised consultancy services to be utilised as and when required.

(b) Training Provision

The full-time national technical officer as well as other part-time technical personnel who are involved in the operation of this project will receive on-the-job training.

(c) Equipment

Provision is made for necessary equipment for pond grow-out and hatchery operation. Provisions for a vehicle (Land Rover/van), vehicle maintenance and fuel have also been made.

II.H Work Plan

A detailed work plan for the implementation of the project will be prepared by the international expert in consultation with the national counterpart. This will be done at the start of the project and up-dated periodically. A provisional work plan is given on the following page.

II.K Institutional Framework

The Inland Fisheries Unit, Division of Agricultural Production, Ministry of Agriculture, will be the Government Cooperating Agency for this project.

II.L Prior Obligations and Prerequisites

  1. All project equipment and supplies will be imported duty free and will be exempt from Government importation taxes and duties.

  2. All Government inputs, including counterpart personnel, will be provided on a timely basis.

  3. The executing agency will provide an experienced freshwater prawn culture expert and other consultants on a timely basis.

II.M Future UNDP Assistance

Further UNDP assistance in this field is expected to be made available at the end of this project if the results of culture operations prove satisfactory. Assistance will then be needed to construct and operate a prawn hatchery to supply post larvae expanded culture operations, and to train extension officers in order to provide technical assistance to freshwater prawn farmers.


Progress reports are to be prepared at the end of every six months by the international expert in cooperation with the national staff. The individual consultant will be required to submit technical reports. The international expert will submit a final report on the project. The information given will be guided by UNDP/FAO policies and procedures relating to reports.

Note: Paragraphs II.I and II.J are standard paragraphs, not found necessary for inclusion in this project document


Proposed Project ActivityTiming
1.International Expert assumes duties X                       
2.Import post-larvae for first grow-out trial X                      
3.First grow-out trial  XXXXXXX               
4.Import equipmentXXXX                    
5.Establish hatchery XXXXXX                 
6.Raising post-larvae in hatchery       XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
7.Second and subsequent grow-out         XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
9.Consultant services    O    P  E   N      

Project Budget Covering UNDP Contribution (in U.S.$)

Country: Jamaica
Project Title: Pilot Project for Freshwater Prawn Culture
Project No.:

11.01Aquaculturist1267 8001267 800  
11.02Consultants (Disease/Nutrition/Engineering)  214 000  17 00017 000
19.Component Total1481 8001374 80017 000
49.Equipment (including vehicle, fuel, etc.) 45 000 38 500 6 500
59.Miscellaneous 2 000 1 000 1 000
99.TOTAL UNDP CONTRIBUTION 128 800 114 300 14 500

Project Budget Covering Government Contribution
(in U.S.$)

Country: Jamaica
Project Title: Pilot Project for Freshwater Prawn Culture
Project No.:

11.01Senior Fishery Biologist  6   3   3 
11.02Fishery Biologist24 12 12 
11.03Technician24 12 12 
11.04Farm Labourers (2)48 24 24 
19.Component Total102   51 51 

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