Papo’s inland fish project as old as Papua New Guinea

Highlands

THE Papo inland fish project at Kafuku village near 5-Mile area outside Goroka, Eastern Highlands, is 43 years old.
It is just as old as independent PNG which will celebrate its 43rd Independent anniversary this year. The fish farm was supporting Papo family for over 40 years and is still going strong.
The project was founded by Sive Papo after realising that the portion of land made available to him was not convenient for growing food stuff as it was on the bank of Kafuku Creek, prone to flood and landslide as part of it was on a small hill.
After some years in operation, Papo suffered a major blow when flood destroyed his fish ponds washing all the fish down Kafuku Creek.
“This was a major destruction, I planted bamboo plants around the project site and avoided flood till today,” he said.
Papo said he dug up four fish ponds and started fish farming after attending an inland fish farm training conducted by the fisheries officers of the Division of the Department of Primary Industry in Goroka in 1975.
“I only gained the necessary skills and knowledge on inland aquaculture but no material or monetary support from the government, partly to address feed problem but I built houses for my ducks above the water to let their waste drop into the pond for fish to feed,” he said.
He raised tilapia and other species and sells them to local buyers in Goroka and at 5-Mile market along the Highlands Highway, with a good number of his customers are Kafuku villagers themselves.
“We fried our catches and sell them on roadsides. We also supply to Mesauka and Gahuku secondary schools, churches and other smaller schools in the area,” he said.
Papo said the only problem he faced all these years was the lack of feed for the fish.
He attended fish feed meal-making training but due to lack of resources and material he would do much. He attended a fish feed-making training sponsored by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency some years ago.
He was also trained to produce fingerlings that he supplies other satellite fish farmers in the area.
“I struggled on without any help from the government. Even the National Fisheries Authority turned a blind eye to my project although it is the oldest surviving inland fish project,” Papo said.
He said his inland aquaculture project brings in good money which he uses to pay for his children’s school fees and meet other daily expenses for his family.

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