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Farmers and rural communities, beneficiaries of NACA projects



Dr Sena De Silva. Picture by Samantha Weerasiri

NACA means the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific and it has a history of 22 years. According to the NACA Director-General Dr Sena De Silva it is an inter-governmental organization that promotes rural development through sustainable aquaculture. NACA seeks to improve rural income, increase food production and foreign exchange earnings and to diversify farm production. The ultimate beneficiaries of NACA activities are farmers and rural communities.

Dr Sena De Silva spoke to the Daily News when he came to Sri Lanka to participate in the Asian Regional Ministerial Meeting on Aquaculture.

Dr De Silva said that Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Iran, Korea (DPR), Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam are the current members of NACA.

NACA’s structure, its duties

He explained about the NACA policy which is determined by the Governing Council composed of high officials representing the member governments. The Governing Council meets once a year and formulates NACA’s five-year regional work programme. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a non-voting member.

NACA conducts development assistance projects throughout the region in partnership with governments, donor foundations, development agencies, universities and a range of non-government organizations and farmers. NACA supports institutional strengthening, technical exchange and the development of policies for sustainable aquaculture and aquatic resources management, Dr De Silva said.

According to NACA sources, certain organizations such as the FAO, United Nations Development Programme, the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, World Animal Health Organization, the Mekong River Commission, Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), African Rainbow Minerals (ARM), the South Asian Fisheries Development Centre (SEAFDEC), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), European Union, Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), UK Department For International Development (DFID), Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Australian AID, Danish Cooperation for Environment and Development (DANCED), International Development Research Centre (IDRC), IFREMER, NORAD, the Asian Institute of Technology, World Wide Fund for Nature, Mac Arthur Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund are the partners which are also part of NACA.

Dr Sena De Silva said Sri Lanka is a country which had just started development projects and programmes. The steps taken by the government to develop the country should be appreciated. NACA has taken steps to assist Sri Lanka in these development projects.

Sri Lanka had just started development programmes in aquaculture and has achieved many goals in this industry. Because of that the greater involvement of the international community is very important to Sri Lanka. It will help identify modern technology and introduce better techniques which help the country’s rapid development. Industries, such as, fisheries and aquaculture will get more benefits with international involvement. NACA will play a key role in this field, Dr De Silva said.

The local fisheries industry has great potential to develop aquaculture. Sri Lanka has a great water resource and more modern technology is needed to make the best use of that water resource for the development of the country.

The fisheries industry is one of the most important industries in Sri Lanka and it earns valuable foreign exchange by exporting its products.

Modern technology

Using modern technology and introducing new methods to provide nutrition and protect the freshness of the product will help the fisheries industry earn more revenue, Dr De Silva said. Providing quality products and introducing new income generating products to the world market should be the main aims of the local aquaculture industry.

The programmes which can emphasize rural development, focusing on the social and environmental objectives of reducing poverty, ensuring food security, enhancing livelihoods, managing aquatic resources, promoting a healthy environment and healthy aquatic animals, improving manpower management and technical skills should be introduced to the aquaculture communities. It will help to achieve the goals of the aquaculture field.

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