Promoting aquaculture for food security and employment in Haiti

FAO’s aquaculture project helps improve household nutrition & food security in Northeastern Haiti.

Key facts

The small Caribbean island developing state of Haiti is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters, climate-related disasters and food insecurity. The Northeastern district has great economic and agricultural potential but presents a high rate of food insecure people and is especially vulnerable to climate hazards, including drought. FAO, together with the European Union (EU), implemented a Millennium Development Goal Programme in 2013 that emphasized as a national priority the need to strengthen food security and to increase production and agriculture development. As part of this strategy, FAO and the EU collaborated on developing Farmer Field Schools in the northeastern province, including an aquaculture component to produce red tilapia, which is a hybrid of Mozambique and Nile tilapias, in the Au Boeuf Lake. The project is also assisting targeted communities in establishing their own ponds for the production fingerlings (young or small fish).

Boosting the aquaculture sector to improve food security and employment opportunities
Food insecurity and malnutrition are fairly widespread in Haiti’s northeastern region and there is a stringent need to create jobs, especially for people living in rural areas. Establishing commercial-scale tilapia aquaculture can contribute to economic development by providing employment opportunities throughout the value chain, especially in marketing.

The EU-FAO project is training four communities, namely Mapou, Philibert, Meillac and Robino, in aquaculture cage production of red tilapia in two local water bodies, Lagon de Robino and Lac Au Boeuf respectively. However, a long dry spell has caused Lagon de Robino to shrink, concentrating most activities on Lac Au Boeuf.

Following training by aquaculture specialists, the communities have set up ten floating cages of 4 cubic meters each and stocked them with some 12 000 red tilapia fingerlings. In the coming months, plans are to expand to up to 22 floating cages with an annual forecasted production of 6 tonnes of fish.

“The project uses imported, commercial fish feed with high levels of protein (30-40%), and the results we’ve seen in the fingerlings the communities are raising have been impressive,” says FAO aquaculture officer, Valerio Crespi. The fingerlings have grown from 1 g to 150 g in just two months.

The communities also received extensive aquaculture training through a ‘learning-by-doing’ approach and through assistance from the national consultant engaged as part of the project.

The production of red tilapia is progressing better than expected. Now, aquaculture farmer field schools are working to market and sell their produce directly in the local community, developing a marketing plan for ‘direct farm gate’ sales as well as to local restaurants and hotels.

The project aims to produce local, less expensive fish feed produced with agricultural byproducts from local farming activities.

The Farmer Field School programme
The aquaculture component is part of a Farmer Field School programme worth € 4 million that intends to strengthen the production capacity of processing and marketing of family farming systems to better exploit market opportunities and other development prospects.

More than 70 Farmer Field Schools have been set up in the Northeastern district, each involving producers in different areas and sectors, including groundnuts, cassava, horticulture, milk and aquaculture.

The producers benefit from the support of the programme in the field they have chosen themselves, including sustainable production, processing according to quality standards and marketing in association of their processed products.

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