By Shezna Shums
The National Aqua-culture Development Authority of Sri Lanka (NAQDA) is to promote and be actively involved in the One Million Home Garden (Economic Units) Development Programme.
This programme has been initiated by the Ministry of Economic Development and the Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministry.
The project, which will include several areas, is expected to accelerate the aquaculture industry in the country.
The areas to be enhanced are food fish culture in ponds, fry-fingerling rearing in ponds, seasonal tank programme, fish culture in estate tanks, ornamental fish farming, ornamental aquatic plant farming, sea bass cage culture, freshwater prawn farming in ponds and integrated fish farming.
All these projects will be coordinated by district aquaculture extension officers and aquaculture extension officers.
NAQDA Director General P Nimal Chandraratne said that in order to expand the country’s aquaculture sector, plans are underway to utilise medium and small tanks in the north and east of the country which were previously unused along with the utilisation of coastal aquaculture projects.
A large portion of aquaculture cultivations also takes place in the dry zones in Sri Lanka.
“With the liberation of the Northern Province, there are a lot of unused reservoirs, small and medium tanks and seasonal tanks where aquaculture can be enhanced,” he noted.
Fishermen and others involved in the fisheries industry have also been provided with nets and other fishing gear to boost their productivity.
In order to accommodate this growing industry, Chandraratne noted that 20 biologists from the local universities as well as diploma holders from NAQDA had been recruited to meet the demand of this growing industry.
“NAQDA will also recruit more people in the future depending on industry requirements,” he added. Currently these biologists are being trained at the NAQDA training centres in Dambulla, Udaw-alawa and Inginiyagala.