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Regionalizing Training and Technical Assistance for Nongovernmental Organizations 10ATR1

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Regionalizing Training and Technical Assistance for Nongovernmental Organizations

Appropriate Technology Research 1 (10ATR1)/Activity/El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua

Collaborating Institution
Escuela Agrícola Panamericana, Zamorano, Honduras
      Daniel E. Meyer

Auburn University
     Joseph J. Molnar

University of Georgia
     E. William Tollner
     Brahm Verma

Raquel Isaula, Red de Desarrollo Sostenible, Honduras (RDS-HN)

1) Provide technical training and outreach activities to build non-governmental (NGO) institutional network for aquacultural development in Latin American countries. Specific objectives of the investigation are:

2) Train NGO extension agents in the fundamentals of tilapia culture utilizing low-cost inputs as a tool to be used in rural development activities in Nicaragua and El Salvador,

3) Train NGO extension agents in the use of Web-based information delivery system that provide information and decision-making process for advising small- and medium-scale farmers, and

4) Prepare and distribute useful information on tilapia culture using low cost inputs for implementing and providing technical assistance to rural farmers in Nicaragua and El Salvador.

The potential for aquaculture in Honduras, and in the entire Central American region is quite high. For example, a previous regional-scale study (Kapetsky and Nath, 1997) suggests that from 45-90% of the land area in Central America is very suitable for commercial farming, and that 35-90% of the land area is very suitable for small-scale aquaculture. One of the serious limitations impeding attainment of this potential is the limited institutional support for aquaculture development (e.g., extension services, training/research opportunities, marketing channels, etc.) in Honduras (Veverica and Molnar, 1997). The lack of institutional support for aquaculture is also evident from findings that roughly a third of aquaculture farmers in Honduras cite lack of understanding of fish farming as a major obstacle to increased yields (Molnar et al., 1996). These issues are not unique to the country, but exist in many countries across Latin America (Martinez and Pedini, 1998).

The overall situation vis-à-vis governmental support for aquaculture in Honduras suggests that now is an opportune time to strengthen institutional capability in the non-governmental sector to ensure that the infrastructure for small and medium scale aquaculture producers will be in place for the foreseeable future. Consequently, the purpose of this project is to provide training and outreach activities that will institutionalize aquaculture development in Honduras and Latin American countries with the non-governmental institution (Zamorano, the Escuela Agrícola Panamericana in Honduras) playing a central role, in collaboration with the University of Georgia and Auburn University.

Fish culture can provide inexpensive animal protein and extra income for rural farmers in Central America. There are proven techniques and tested recommendations for utilizing low-cost inputs for growing tilapia in tropical and subtropical areas of the world (Meyer and Mejía, 1993; Meyer el al., 1997). Much of these techniques and recommendations have been developed by CRSP research efforts (Green et al., 1994). Currently, fish culture is not part of the traditional production systems in Latin America. An effective extension program in fish culture requires a long-term commitment to provide useful information for decision- making and continued motivation of beginning fish farmers.

This project builds on the experience gained in the current Pond Dynamics/Aquaculture CRSP Honduras project and the prior 14 years of research experience, during which time CRSP researchers have built a pool of trained individuals, developed contacts with several NGOs, undertaken the development of Web-based information delivery system, and build capacity in Zamorano and RDS-HN to the extent that they will play a significant role in regionalizing training of NGOs thereby build capacity in Latin American countries. Therefore, we propose to partner with Zamorano and RDS-HN to provide technical assistance and to engage in training and outreach activities that will build the non-governmental institutional network for aquacultural development in Latin American countries and support governmental initiatives in aquaculture. Zamorano is well positioned to provide the leadership, collaboration, and institutional integrity necessary and RDS-HN is poised to provide information through tools of information technology to sustain development through training and technical assistance to small- and medium-scale farmers long after the PD/A CRSP has completed its work. Zamorano is at the heart of our vision of the PD/A CRSP exit strategy.

Due to the vast number of small- and medium-scale farms and time and resource constraints of the CRSP, it is not feasible to interact directly with farmers to offer technical assistance for culturing tilapia. The chosen strategy in the Honduras project has been build capacity in Zamorano, strengthen NGO capabilities and "to train the trainers" to offer assistance in this field on a long-term basis. We propose to continue this strategy which proving successful as is evident with the effectiveness RDS-HN in enabling distribution of information to several hundred NGOs.

There are a multitude of NGOs operating in the Latin American countries. Many of these organizations include fish culture in their rural development efforts but have limited access to pertinent information for promotion and implementation of effective extension efforts. Most NGO extension agents have limited knowledge and experience of appropriate fish culture techniques. The significant effort in Honduras to strengthen the capabilities of numerous NGOs in tilapia culture can now be extended to Nicaragua and El Salvador that have similar topographical and climatic conditions as Honduras. Both countries are poorly developed and their populations suffer from widespread malnutrition. We expect other countries in the region to follows from this work.

Quantified Anticipated Benefits
The overall benefit from this investigation will be continued capacity building of Zamorano and NGOs there by enabling these institutions to provide for continued development of small- and medium-scale aquaculture in the Latin American region.

The proposed work will increase knowledge and capabilities of several dozen NGOs and extension agents in tilapia culture. By receiving hands-on training with WIDeST, they will also learn the use of Web-based system for retrieving information, virtual meetings format for receiving inputs to identify needs, and methods by which to make decisions. Understanding factors affecting economic development and learning the value of assessing availability of natural resources will be valuable in providing advise to small- and medium-scale farmers.

Activity Plan
Activities planned in this investigation are to provide training and technical assistance in the selected Latin American countries for culturing tilapia. These activities includes providing information from PD/A CRSP results on tilapia production and management, local markets, water supply analysis and pond design, and the use of the Web-based information delivery system for systematic decision-making. Specific activities include:

Regional Integration
The proposed work in this activity is primarily focused on developing capacity of Zamorano and RDS-HN to provide regional leadership in training and technical assistance in Latin American countries. The training workshops and meetings are targeted to extend CRSP experiences in Honduras to Latin America. The Web-based technology and WIDeST show great promise for achieving this goal. The training sessions and hands-on experiences of farmers, NGOs and policy makers with WIDeST will go a long way in using relevant information for decision making as well as regionalizing of tilapia culture in Latin America and beyond.

We plan to hold several training sessions as follows:

Submit final report. [April 2003]

Literature Cited
Green, B.W., D.R. Teichert-Coddington, and T.R. Hanson, 1994. Development of semi-intensive aquaculture technologies in Honduras. Research and Development Series 39. International Center for Aquaculture and Aquatic Environments, Auburn University, Alabama, 48 pp.

Kapetsky, J.M. and S.S. Nath, 1997. A strategic assessment of the potential for freshwater fish farming in Latin America. COPESCAL Technical Paper 10, FAO, Rome, 128 pp.

Martinez, M. and Pedini, M., 1998. Status of aquaculture in Latin America and the Caribbean. FAO Aquaculture Newsletter, 18:20­24.

Meyer, D., D. Torres, and C. Aceituno, 1997. Comparación del cultivo de tilapia con dos tecnologías diferentes. In: D.E. Alston, B.W. Green, and H.C. Clifford (Editors), Cuarto Simposio Centroamericano de Acuacultura, Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Latinamerican Chapter of the World Aquaculture Society (WAS), Asociación Nacional de Acuicultores de Honduras (ANDAH), Memoria pp. 230­232.

Meyer, D.E. and S. Mejia, 1993. Utilización de cuatro fuentes de nutrientes en el cultivo de tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). In: Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica. Simposio de Investigación Acuícola en Centro América, 25-29 octubre, San José, Costa Rica, pp. 66­78.

Molnar, J., T. Hanson, and L. Lovshin, 1996. Impacts of Aquacultural Research on tilapia: The Pond Dynamics/Aquaculture CRSP in Rwanda, Honduras, The Philippines, and Thailand. Research and Development Series 40. International Center for Aquaculture and Aquatic Environments, Auburn University, Alabama.

Veverica, K. and J.J. Molnar, 1997. Developing and extending aquaculture technology for producers. In: Boyd, C.E. and H. Egna (Editors), Dynamics of Pond Aquaculture. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp. 397­414.

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