The Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Board (RAB) is gearing up to launch a groundbreaking ‘farmer field school’ program aimed at addressing the lack of professional personnel in the fishing industry.
Aligned with the country’s Vision 2050, which seeks to transition from subsistence to commercial aquaculture, the farmer field school (FFS) will be a significant step towards achieving this goal.
Fish farmers, including Fine Fish Ltd, an enterprise operating in Rubavu District’s Lake Kivu, are grappling with a shortage of skilled workers for their fish farms situated in Kivu and Muhazi lakes.
Themistocle Munyangeyo, the Managing Director of Fine Fish Ltd, expressed the need for the government to establish more fish farming schools to train professionals. He recounted the losses incurred by the company, emphasizing the importance of practical training rather than theoretical knowledge, as even university graduates have caused extensive damage to harvests.
Jean Marie Vianney Nzabahonimana, a fisherman from Rutsiro District, shared the same concerns regarding the lack of skills in the fishing industry, which adversely affects income levels. He aspires to witness an improved and more developed sector.
Addressing the challenges faced by aquaculture, Solange Uwituze, the Deputy Director General in charge of Animal Resources Research and Technology Transfer at RAB, acknowledged the absence of fishing schools. However, she assured that the issue would be addressed through the new National Aquaculture Strategy for Rwanda 2023-2035.
The new strategy aims to boost annual fish production from 4,000 tonnes to 80,620 tonnes through aquaculture by 2035.
Uwituze stated, “Professional development is indeed a focal point in our efforts with this new strategy.” She revealed that RAB is collaborating with the Rwanda TVET Board, particularly Karongi TVT, to facilitate training programs ranging from three to six months, up to diploma, bachelor’s, and master’s levels.
Expected to launch in the upcoming fiscal year, the farmer field school will enhance the skills of fish farmers across the country. The farmer field school (FFS) is a collaborative learning approach that empowers farmers to independently solve problems they encounter.
Introduced by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources in 2012, this innovative program has shown promise in driving sustainable development within the industry