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for a Secure Future
Updates from around Globe
Aquaculture Update from Malaysia
Rainbow Trout Culture in the Peruvian Highlands
Updates from around Globe
CRSP Kenya Communique
by Jim Bowman
It's been just three years since Karen Veverica, the Kenya Project's resident US researcher, arrived at Sagana, and during this short time a lengthy list of achievements has been accumulated. On her arrival at Sagana Fish Farm in April 1997, Veverica immediately began the task of helping prepare the facility for CRSP experiments and for serving as an information center for aquaculture in the region.
The first priorities in preparing the site for CRSP work included converting three of Sagana's 4,000-m2 production ponds into twelve more manageable 800-m2 research ponds,
expanding the existing laboratory space to hold the additional instruments and apparati needed to conduct water quality tests required by CRSP protocols, and assembling and installing a complete new weather monitoring system for the station. Fingerling production was improved, and staff needed to be trained in moving large numbers of live fish, keeping data, and managing ponds. Most of the work in these three areas was completed by the end of October 1997, with automatic, continuous weather monitoring beginning at the end of November and the first CRSP experiment (Eighth Work Plan) being initiated in the new ponds at the beginning of December. Since that time the CRSP research ponds at Sagana have been in continuous use. The sequence of experiments and dates of research pond use at Sagana are shown.
Under Veverica's supervision, pond construction crews at Sagana have been able to continue renovating and improving more of the older ponds at Sagana. As of this writing, 25 matched, 800-m2 research ponds, four miscellaneous ponds of 800 to 880 m2 each, and three smaller ponds (150 m2 each) have been created through these efforts; an additional large pond (about 1 acre) is currently being renovated. The Fisheries Department has asked that revenues from CRSP-generated fish sales be used towards building more 150-m2 ponds.
Education and Training
Probably the most important work that the Kenya Project has undertaken has been in the area of training. This has been accomplished through formal project activities such as the provision of scholarship support for students undertaking master's programs and a series of short courses for Kenyan Fisheries officers
and extension agents. For example, the master's programs of two students are fullysupported by the CRSP. These include Bethuel Omolo, currently studying at AuburnUniversity in the US (see related article, p. 4), and Robertson Mugo, who is working at Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya. In addition, three 2-week short courses in pond construction and fish culture basics were completed during the last eight months, and additional training sessions are slated for July and November of this year Perhaps more important than these formal training efforts has been Veverica's mentoring of pond crews, computer and lab technicians, and the many students who have come to Sagana to undertake research projects as part of undergraduate or graduate programs. Approximately 15 students have worked on such projects at Sagana during these three years; 12 of them received CRSP support in the form of small monthly stipends, and seven of them were conducting research as part of an M.S. program at a Kenyan University. Students have come to Sagana from Moi University, the University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, and Mombasa Polytechnic. For those who continue on in aquaculture, the practical experience gained by working at Sagana with real ponds, real fish, and real fish culture problems has probably been a far more useful learning experience than was their formal coursework.
On-farm trials for Central Province were begun in January of this year. Approximately 30 farmers are using at least 60 ponds and rice paddies for these trials, which will continue through about November, at which time fish will be harvested and the results evaluated. On-farm trials for western Kenya (Western and Nyanza provinces) will begin in July and continue on through March 2001. It is expected that approximately 25 farmers will participate in those trials, using about 50 ponds. A series of training sessions for Kenyan Fisheries Officers was begun in December 1999 and will continue through 2000. Training sessions involve 20 officers and last for two weeks each, covering the basics of pond construction and pond management. Three sessions have already been conducted, and two additional training sessions are scheduled during the remainder of the year. In addition, field days in which more than 70 farmers participated were held in 1999 and up to 100 additional farmers will participate in field days during the year 2000.
Significant New Developments in 2000
Several personnel changes of significance have occurred since late 1999. The first was the retirement of former Fisheries Department Director Fred Pertet and the appointment of Booker T.W. Odour, later followed by Nancy Gitonga as Acting Director. Gitonga has taken on her new duties with enthusiasm and has shown considerable interest in and support for the CRSP effort. Simultaneously, former Head of Station Bethuel Omolo left Sagana to undertake graduate studies in aquaculture and extension methodology at Auburn University. Japhet K. Ngatuni was named the new Head of Station in late 1999. He has also taken an active interest in the CRSP, as well as in improving the function and appearance of Sagana Fish Farm. Gitonga serves as Host Country Principal Investigator for the CRSP project, while Ngatuni is the Kenyan Research Associate. A significant change in the way the project operates in Kenya has taken place in recent months. The month of March marked the end of Karen Veverica's full-time presence at Sagana. Near the end of the month she returned to Auburn University to take up duties at Auburn's Fisheries Research Unit. Veverica will continue to provide guidance to the Kenya Project, but this will be on a part-time basis, limited to periodic visits to Kenya and participation in project planning, monitoring, and reporting activities by email and telephone contacts with other project participants.
KENYA LINKAGES 2000
Two significant new linkages to the Kenya Project have been established in 2000. The first is an agreementto work hand-in-hand with the Moi University Department of Fisheries (Eldoret, Kenya) on our training programs for Kenyan Fisheries officers, extension agents, and farmers (see main story). Dr. David Liti, of the Department of Zoology at Moi University, is helping oversee operations and advising students at Sagana Fish Farm when Karen Veverica is not in Kenya. He will return to Eldoret in September 2000. In addition to Dr. Liti, Moi University faculty now collaborating with the CRSP and the Kenya Fisheries Department include Dr. Mucai Muchiri, Head of the Department of Fisheries, and Dr. Charles Ngugi, lecturer in the Department of Fisheries. We expect that this collaboration with Moi University will lead to a productive and long-term partnership between the Kenya Fisheries Department and Moi University Department of Fisheries.
The second new linkage established this year allows the CRSP and ICLARM-Malawi to conduct companion site research at Malawi's National Aquaculture Center (Zomba) and at Bunda College. Students from Bunda College of Agriculture will be involved in studies at both sites. Overall supervision of these efforts will be provided by Dr. Daniel Jamu, of ICLARM-Malawi, and Dr. Jeremy Likongwe, of Bunda College. Jamu was also a CRSP participant from 1995 to 1998, working with Dr. Raul Piedrahita as a Research Assistant on the Aquaculture Systems Modeling Research project at University of California, Davis.