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Отдел развития бизнеса и мобилизации ресурсов

Sustainable aquaculture and fisheries in Kyrgyzstan


From poacher to rural elected official

16/11/2018 - 

"There’s always a right path for development. You just need to stop and think, and work very hard." Artur, a fisher and rural council member from Toktogul, a city in the Jalal-Abad Region of Kyrgyzstan

  • The project strengthened the right to food and enhanced livelihoods and employment opportunities among the rural poor in Kyrgyzstan.

 Artur comes from Toktogul, a city in the Jalal-Abad Region of Kyrgyzstan located on the northern shore of the Toktogul reservoir. After high school, Artur, like many of his village friends, began to fish for a living. In this remote area with few jobs, it was relatively easy to catch and sell fish from the reservoir close to his home.

There was one constraint, however. Fishing in the Toktogul reservoir was illegal—which made Artur a poacher. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, aquaculture production across Central Asia has declined dramatically and many operational fish farms have been abandoned.

Existing pond farms and new production facilities in Kyrgyzstan are promising, yet lack of technical expertise and support from industries limit the potential growth of the sector. Fish farmers rely on costly imported or poor quality feeds and, as a result, suffer from low production rates and economic returns. Concluded at the end of 2017, the FAO project ‘Towards Sustainable Aquaculture and Fisheries Development in Kyrgyzstan’ aimed to build institutional and local capacity towards sustainable aquaculture.

The project strengthened the right to food and enhanced livelihoods and employment opportunities among the rural poor in Kyrgyzstan. Artur is among the rural poor and needed the income from fishing to provide for his family. He fully understood that poaching is wrong and when the FAO project came along he welcomed the idea of fish farming, and was among the first to establish fish ponds. One goal of the project was to set up four minihatcheries and three feed mills in identified project areas. As of 2017 all of them are operational, with the mini-hatcheries producing 730 000 fry fish, and the feed mills producing 4 tonnes of carp feeds, 1.45 tonnes of trout feed, and 3 tonnes of materials for terrestrial animal feeds per year.

The feeds were produced using available local ingredients. The project also trained fish farmer associations in feed formulation and manufacturing. Artur proactively participated in the project, bringing other fishermen together to form a fish farmer association.

Last year his fellow villagers nominated and elected him a member of the rural council. Together with other council members he promotes aquaculture development in Toktogul district, provides hands-on training to people interested in fish farming, and offers advice from his personal experiences. Artur has come a long way since he was a poacher and is now a role model in the community. 

Resourse Partner: Finland

Regional Initiative: RIE1: Empowering small holders and family farms in Europe and Central Asia

SDGs: 2, 8, 14

Photo: Artisanal fisher harvests fish from net - Kyrgyzstan.©FAO/Sergey Kozmin