Capacity building is a key crosscutting activity for the FISH CRP. WorldFish recently hosted three Zambian fish scientists at FISH research sites in Malaysia and Bangladesh to develop their technical skills in fish genetic improvement. Currently working at the National Aquaculture Research and Development Centre in Kitwe in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia, the scientists are directly involved in the genetic improvement programs of the country, a FISH focal country.
In 2017, the Government of the Republic of Zambia acquired a USD 50 million loan from the African Development Bank to implement a five-year Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project under the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. Zambia has significant domestic demand, and the ambition to become a major exporter of fish in the next years.
The government has already started building the capacity of the aquaculture sector in all 10 of the country’s provinces. “WorldFish seems to be one of the places that will take us where we want to go,” said Patience Chungu, one of the visiting scientists.
Hosted under the auspices of the FISH CRP, the three have been exposed to new techniques in genetic data capture. Stanley Tan See Lay, Senior Data Manager at WorldFish, is adapting to Zambian conditions a desktop application that he has developed to collect fish tagging data. “This will help us greatly in terms of data collection,” said Hectore Chilanga, who will be collecting and processing data from the indigenous Oreochromis andersonii, an indigenous tilapia species.
“Interaction has been great so far,” said Chad Kancheya, who is involved in actually running the fish farm. “We have cleared up most of the questions we had on setting up a breeding programme.” Chad will also be using his experience with FISH to train people on the ground in Zambia.
“FISH is building partnerships with the department and this experience will strengthen the collaboration in the country,” said Rose Basiita, Aquaculture Scientist in the WorldFish Zambia office, who is acting as the group’s guide. “Next we are moving on to Bangladesh, as a second center of excellence in aquaculture, where we will be have a two-day course run by Trovan, who is supplying the software and equipment for the fish tagging and data collection.”