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PD/A CRSP Aquanews-Summer 2001
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NGOs and Aquacultural Development: Lessons from Honduras and Peru

by Joseph J. Molnar, Auburn University

Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are important but often-overlooked components of the institutional structure supporting aquacultural development. International and domestic NGOs have close and enduring connections to communities and families. They often have a pervasive involvement in the lives and livelihoods of rural people, an involvement that extends beyond one farm enterprise or any one single aspect of human need. This note considers the relationship between the PD/A CRSP and NGOs in light of the experience of two countries where mutually beneficial relationships between CRSP projects and NGOs have evolved.

In Peru, the PD/A CRSP has been working in Amazonia, focusing on the reproduction of an indigenous species, Colossoma. Several different governmental units produce fingerlings and provide technical services, but these efforts are largely confined to the locales surrounding the various installations. Moving beyond the regional city of Iquitos, fish farmers must look to NGOs for assistance.

In partnership with the CRSP research activities, CARE/Peru is an international NGO that supports more than a dozen technicians who are working in rural communities along the Amazon and its several tributaries surrounding Iquitos. CRSP researcher Fernando Alcántara and his colleagues at the Universidad Nacional de la Amazonia Peruana have taught training courses attended by the technicians, as well as farmer-oriented training courses for which CARE/Peru technicians have identified participants. In addition, the technicians participated in the baseline socioeconomic survey of practicing fish farmers that profile the practices and species cultured in the area.

In Honduras, governmental services to fish culture have been uneven at best. Financial and organizational problems narrow the quality and scope of extension services to select locales. PD/A CRSP investment in the research program has produced an extended body of research findings, yet the public sector has been unable to realize the promise of fish culture due to funding limitations and high personnel turnover. NGOs offer the best promise for enduring support for small- and medium-scale producers throughout the country.

A number of Honduras NGOs support technical assistance in aquaculture, while there is growing interest among other organizations in enhancing capabilities to support fish culture activities when it is appropriate to do so. Under CRSP researcher Dan Meyer’s leadership, the Escuela Agrícola Panamericana at Zamorano has provided training courses and technical assistance to producers. As a result, NGOs are expanding their interest and awareness of fish culture as an alternative farm enterprise. Responding to new opportunities presented by the Internet, PD/A CRSP has partnered with Red Desarollo Sostenible-Honduras to develop a website and information portal to support fish culture activities. The United Nations Development Program has invested heavily to develop an extensive NGO capability to use the Internet in Honduras. New efforts by the PD/A CRSP are using these networks to realize the possibility of fish culture in many locales across Honduras.

The central insight from these experiences is that NGOs have a longer and more lasting reach to rural people and rural communities than PD/A CRSP researchers and their staffs can ever have. Partnering with NGOs has extended fish culture strategies and science-based understandings to a broader set of fish farmers than would otherwise have been

The PD/A CRSP and NGOs: Getting Results, Getting Results to the Community

NGOs programs to enhance the well-being of and promote sustainable livelihoods among rural people in developing nations often center on agricultural development and resource conservation as objectives for their activities. Often, fish culture is—or could be—a component of the portfolio of activities that are guided and supported by NGO efforts. NGO technicians make regular visits to farms and rural communities, teaching, advising, and solving problems in rural communities. It is this diverse and dispersed cadre of technicians that comprises a real and immediate target audience for the information and findings of PD/A CRSP experimental findings and trials.

Training NGO technicians in the basics of fish culture is a central task for the PD/A CRSP if it is to leave behind lasting impacts and consequences for the rural people and communities in the countries where it is working. The NGOs have enduring relationships to their target populations and are likely to continue to support and extend aquaculture development long after the PD/A CRSP has moved on to other locales and topics. A partial list of NGOs with whom the CRSP has cooperated includes:

• Cáritas del Perú, Iquitos, Peru
• Comite para la Defensa y Desarrollo de la Flora y Fauna del Golfo de Fonseca (CODDEFFAGOLF), Tegucigalpa, Honduras
• CARE, Bangladesh, Peru, and Atlanta, Georgia
• Fe y Alegria, Lima, Peru
• Global Village, Honduras
• Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH), Honduras
• SAO Cambodia Aquaculture at Low Expenditure (SCALE) Project, Cambodia
• Sustainable Agricultural Centre for Research and Development in Africa (SACRED-Africa), Kenya
• Terra Nuova, Lima, Peru
• Uganda Wetlands and Resource Conservation Association (UWRCA), Uganda
• Winrock International, Lima, Peru
• World Neighbors, Honduras

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