Fish/shrimp farming Coastal Field School, a new hope for local farmers in coastal Demak

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I still remember the first time when I met Supardi (47 years old) on the first day of the Coastal Field School Training of Trainers (CFS ToT). He is one of the twenty-one participants selectively recruited to be community organisers for the aquaculture revitalisation program, which is part of Building with Nature (BwN) to reduce coastal erosion in Demak.This programme provides coastal resilience by combining smart engineering and mangrove rehabilitation,while introducing sustainable land use practice. In Demak we aim for sustainable revitalisationof 300 ha of degraded aquaculture ponds in Demak for crab and shrimp farming.

Picture 1 – In one ToT session, Supardi (47 years old) is observing and measuring  the treatment and control ponds at ToT demoplot to monitor the efficacy of LEISA system application. The routine observation and measurement would likely  enable the ToT participants to gather, systematise and expand their local knowledge  

Picture 1 – In one ToT session, Supardi (47 years old) is observing and measuring  the treatment and control ponds at ToT demoplot to monitor the efficacy of LEISA system application. The routine observation and measurement would likely  enable the ToT participants to gather, systematise and expand their local knowledge

 Besides his main function as a village secretary in Surodadi village, he also manages his 3.5 ha pond. During the three day training he kept telling about the difficulty to raiseVannamei shrimp in his ponds. Similar to other shrimp farmers along the coast of Demak, he experiencesfrequent failure in raising thesespecies. The shrimp fry usually sustain for only 1.5 months after the stocking. When the young shrimp look stressed, and start swimming on the surface water, the farmer will immediately harvest them, even though they are too smallto be harvestedand can only be soldat a low price.
 
 During the three day ToT in January 2016 Supardi kept on asking for the technical solution to this specific issue, while the trainingwas mainly intended to train facilitation skillsrather than aquaculture management techniques. At the end of the training, he expressed his disappointment as he could not get sufficient reply from the trainers regarding his concern.
 
 
 Picture 2 -The ToT participants observed the growth of Vannamei shrimp raised by Supardi, a ToT participant from Surodadi village, for more than 2 months (April 6th, 2016). The observation reveals that the Vannamei growth is healthy and improving. Supardi explained that mol (local micro-organism solution) application time should be right, i.e. in the late afternoon, as strong sun exposure  might affect the effectiveness of the solution to stimulate klekap growth, the naturally grown feed for the shrimp.
 
 Buton Sunday 10th April 2016, when the training had been running for three and a half months, Supardi invited the field facilitators, Irvan and Yoso, to his 1,800 meter square pond for harvest time. The shrimp were harvested 2 months and 3 weeks after stocking time, and were 8 cm in length and 3.3 cm in body circumference. The total yield weighed 100 kg, which he could sell at IDR 35,000/kg. He saidthat the harvest had never been this good before. In the last decade he had only had poor yields due to mass mortality, which resulted from  severely degraded pond’s soil quality.
 
 Picture 3 -The Vannamei shrimp finally can be harvested in the right time (2 months and 3 weeks) and size (5 cm in length and 3 cm in body circumference), Surodadi village, Sayung sub-district, Demak (April 10th, 2016). Usually, the Vannamei shrimp have to be harvested early, after 1.5 months, to avoid mass mortality.
 
 He explained that his first successful harvest had resultedfrom his participation in the Coastal Field School (CFS) Training of Trainers (ToT) held within the Building with Nature (BwN) project. Coastal Field School is a training approach which is adapted from the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Farmer Field School approach. It aims to build the capacity of small aquaculture farmers to better manage their coastal resourceswithin their own specific agro-ecosystem.  CFS encourages the participants to apply the LEISA system in raising fish and shrimp, in which farmers seek to improve productivity of  the farming system, by generating farm inputs locally to reduce cost, and in an ecologically sound way to minimise the adverse impact of the farming practice to the local coastal ecosystem.
 

In order to prove the efficacy of LEISA system, he experimented with some rearing techniques learned from CFS in his pond, while substituting the use of compost with artificial feed. Periodically, he shared his experience and the pond progress with other ToT participants. For example, he learned in the training, that for applying the local micro-organism (mol) solution,late afternoon is the best timing to apply it when the sun exposure is not that strong. From such small success, Supardihas just gained his confidence back to raise Vannamei shrimp. He promised that he is committed to implement the complete LEISA system that he learned from CFS in his pond.

 Picture 4 -Control pond (left) and treatment pond (right) experimented by Abdul Ghofur, a CFS ToT participant who is curious to know about the efficacy of LEISA system. The picture of treatment pond is showing the growth of klekap upon the application micro-organism solution.

 Also other ToT participants are enthusiastic. For instance Pak Abdul Ghofur (47 years old), decided to compare the efficacy between new rearing techniques and conventional practices by spliting his pond into 2 demoplots, i.e. treatment pond and conventional (control) pond. Recently, he reported that he made a local microorganism solution and compost, and applied them in his treatment pond. He found  that the klekap (local language for colonies of micro- and macro-organisms which consist of blue algae-Cyanophyceae and diatomae-Bacillariophceae) starts growing in his treatment pond, while there is no klekap growing in the control pond. The grown klekap would be a healthy and free diets for the milk fish reared in his demo plot. Now, two weeks after the fry stocking,he is looking forward to having a good harvest.

Eventhough the implementation of fish farming CFS in Demak is still in its infancy, by looking at the two stories above, I am convinced that there isnew hope for the shrimp farmers in Demak to revitalise their ponds through improved pond management. In addition, this approach will enable them to gather, systematise and expand their local knowledge.We are on the right track to achieve the BwN socio-economic objective.

 

 For more information on the Coastal Field Schools: www.blue-forests.org

by Woro Yuniati, Blue Forests Indonesia, May 21, 2016

Contributions from Andi Irvan Abubakar, Weningtyas Kismorodati, Karyoso