L’ACUL: CODEP PARTNERSHIP
In 1990 The Comprehensive Development Project (CODEP) initiated a very ambitious and yet highly successful reforestation program in the Cormier Water Shed, a rugged mountain region southwest of Port Au Prince. In addition to reforesting thousands of acres of barren hillsides by planting an average of 500,000 trees/year, CODEP also helped finance the construction of 50+ concrete fish ponds terraced into the mountains. Most of the ponds are communally owned and operated, and the fish harvested are divided equally amongst pond tenders. Initially, the goal was to raise tilapia fingerlings, supplied by the CODEP hatchery in LaCul, using fish feed imported from the US. However, political turmoil hindered the importation of fish feed and the ponds quickly became fallow. It was at this juncture CODEP partnered with MBL to explore developing alternative feeds.
Our recent efforts have focused on periphyton aquaculture technology (PAT), a method of raising plants and algae within a pond to supply fish with food. All of the methods we employ are evaluated in terms of energy and resource input to minimize demand on farmers while maximizing output. Every effort is made to refine PAT methods into easily adaptable and culturally congruent methods.
SAI conducted extensive training seminars throughout southwestern Haiti, with former staff member Nick Warren, spending 6 weeks on the ground ensuring that techniques were implemented correctly. Within 5-6 months of introducing PAT, ponds began producing fish for the first time in many years, both generating revenue and feeding local people. We later learned that more ponds were being built independently in remote areas, indicating that our methods were being replicated by word of mouth.
It is our goal in the next year to comprehensively assess the status of the CODEP ponds by conducting site visits, interviewing farmers, and evaluating techniques to ensure their continued operation and improving production. Support our efforts by contacting us or giving directly.