The National, Wednesday July 17th, 2013
By PETER ESOP WARI
INLAND fish farmers in Southern Highlands are growing rice next to their fish ponds to supplement their income.
Provincial agriculture and livestock adviser Kenneth Kuim Toap said rice was a recently-introduced crop and he had to get advice from the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) about providing seedlings to people in the province.
Topa said this last Thursday in Mendi during the presentation of K500,000 by the National Fisheries Authority to the farmers.
“Right now our objective is inland fish farming to make sure many rural farmers have their own fish ponds,” he said.
Toap said when the majority of inland fish farmers had their own fish ponds and extension work had been carried out, the next step would be to conduct training for the rural farmers who wanted to try their hand on rice cultivation.
“After the training, the first trial will be conducted at a model farm in Tepe village, Imbonggu district,” he said.
He said Clement Napas was the leading farmer in Imbonggu district, with the largest fish farm and he wanted to now grow rice.
He said the province lacked a proper training centre and was depending heavily on the National Fisheries Authority.
He said training the farmers was very important as many did not know how to grow rice.
“Now the National Fisheries Authority has stepped in to support the struggling farmers and the money given to them will enormously assist them,” Toap said.
Provincial adviser Jerry David assured the farmers that the administration would revive and promote agricultural activities in the province to support the farmers.