Under the “Addressing Causes for Poverty and Ensuring Food Security for Farming Communities” project funded by Caritas Norway and NORAD, training on pond fish culture was held in Kalawewa, Anuradhapura at NIFATI – National Inland Fisheries & Aquaculture Training Institute with the primary objective of alleviating malnutrition among the farming families.

A group of 35 members including lead farmers from Kurunegala, Anuradhapura and Batticaloa DCs, Caritas Kurunegala Diocesan Director, Food Security Staff, National, Regional and Diocesan Programme Coordinators, MEAL officers and Field officers participated in the 2-day event held on 7th and 8th  March 2019.

At the training the participants had both theory and practical training on Pond Fish culture. They were able to learn the following good management practices available in Aquaculture.

1. Site selection.

2. Before stocking the pond.

3. Controlling predators and competitors.

4. Transporting fry/fingerling for stocking.

5. During stocking the pond (Mono culture, Poly culture).

6. After stocking the pond.

7. What farmer should know about preparing the pond before stocking of fry/fingerlings?

8. Harvesting of Fish ponds.

9.  Fish culture in Seasonal Tanks.

10. Freshwater Prawn cultivation.

11. Feed manufacturing and feeding fish.

In Sri Lanka, freshwater fishery constitutes 20% to the total fish production and, more importantly, it provides the primary source of proteins to the inhabitants in the non-coastal regions of the country.

Aquaculture in Sri Lanka is mainly based on pond culture and ‘seasonal village tank’ culture. The seasonal village tank programmme depends almost entirely on introduced species such as Oreochromis mossambicus, Oreochomis niloticus, Ctenopharyngodon idella and Aritichthys nobilis, Catla catia, Labio rohita and Cirrhinus mrigala and Cyprinus carpio.

However, extensive carp poly-culture is the common practice in both culture types. It appears that seasonal village tank culture is the most attractive system of aquaculture while scope for freshwater pond culture development is limited. The major reason for the poor success shown by the latter system is the fixed and operational costs compared to the price per unit of output.  The rural communities need to be educated on the nutritional aspect and possibilities for enhancing the family economy.

Therefore, in this context, Caritas Sri Lanka –SEDEC has taken initiative to promote Inland Fisheries in Kurunegala, Anuradhapura and Batticaloa Dioceses in Sri Lanka.

Caritas Sri Lanka –SEDEC together with Caritas Anuradhapura organized this training .

Caritas Sri Lanka is implementing this project since 2018 with the aim to safeguard food security for 130,000 subsistence farmer households by switching over to sustainable agricultural practices covering all 25 Districts by 2021.