Benjamin Brown

Fish Farmer Field School in Central Java, Indonesia

Central JavaIndonesiaAsia, Fish, Marine26 Mar 2004

Subsistence fisheries are threatened due to sedimentation of the lagoon, which some scientists predict will be filled by sedimentation within five years if emergency sedimentation control is not implemented.  While this issue of drastic environmental change is being addressed (by MAP-Indonesia as well as  local and international NGO’s, Provincial and National government), the economic needs of fisherfolk communities in the lagoon need to be immediately addressed by developing sustainable livelihood alternatives.  With specific regard to the community of Motean, many men from the village have left the island to seek work in the industrial city of Cilacap (one hour away by ferry), while young women are seeking employment as domestic workers in Saudi Arabia.

The fish farmer field school program addresses the economic needs of the Motean community by facilitating two groups of villagers (one adult and one youth group) in creating demonstrations of sustainable, small scale aquaculture.  The methods used in fish farmer field school are all participatory in nature, so the fish farmers themselves create the aquaculture systems, and through a series of participant created experiments, study how to raise fish using low inputs, 100% from organic and local materials.  No fish feeds, chemical fertilizers, piscicides (which are pesticides used in the aquaculture industry) or other un-natural inputs will be used.  By creating two small-scale, organic aquaculture demonstrations, this program will address issues of environmental conservation, local food security, health and nutrition and poverty alleviation in one demonstration village, with plans for dissemination.

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