Press Release: Aquaculture successes celebrated at 3rd national forum in Dili

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Aquaculture successes celebrated at 3rd national forum in Dili

Driving collaboration to accelerate fish farming for improved food security, nutrition, and livelihoods

DILI, 30 November 2023—Around 200 stakeholders have converged in Dili, Timor-Leste, for the third National Aquaculture Forum to share research and development experiences and foster partnerships for sustainable aquaculture development.

The two-day forum, on 30 November and 1 December, is hosted by the Partnership for Aquaculture Development in Timor-Leste Phase 2 project (2020-24) funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who have continuously funded aquaculture development since 2014, with complementary funding from United States Agency for International Development. The PADTL2 project is implemented by WorldFish in partnership with the Timor-Leste Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Forestry.

The aquaculture forum brings together government officials, development partners, researchers, fish farmers, and private sector operators. The event aims to foster collaboration, learning, and the continued scaling of sustainable practices within Timor-Leste's growing aquaculture sector.

Eng. Marcos da Cruz MAg ST, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Forestry: “Efforts to scale up Genetically Improved farmed tilapia (GIFT) over the last 10 years have yielded tangible benefits by enhancing livelihoods and improving food and nutrition security. It's imperative for the public and private sectors, along with development partners, to share their experiences and learnings to inform a coordinated approach to accelerate efforts. Our targets of achieving 12,000 tons of farmed fish production annually and increasing annual fish consumption to 15 kg per person by 2030 remain paramount.”

Philip Hewitt, New Zealand Ambassador to Timor-Leste: “The forum is a testament to our collective progress—more than 300 PADTL2 project farmers in six municipalities have achieved a 350 percent increase in productivity through semi-intensive systems and better management practices. With a capacity of producing more than 10 million fingerlings by all five GIFT hatcheries annually, our journey toward sustainable aquaculture is making a real difference.”

Dr. Essam Yassin Mohammed, Director General, WorldFish“With key building blocks in place, such as a scalable aquaculture development model, participants can explore opportunities and challenges to accelerate fish farming in Timor-Leste for a brighter future. The successes and lessons learned from Timor-Leste’s aquaculture development provides a blueprint for other small island developing states to realize new economic and livelihood opportunities.”

The forum will feature a series of engaging sessions and panel discussions, addressing key topics such as sustainable aquaculture practices, research and innovation, partnerships, and aquatic foods for improving nutrition.

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For more information or to request an interview: 

Dr. Jharendu Pant, 

PADTL2 Project Leader/Senior Scientist, Sustainable Aquaculture



About the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Forestry

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Forestry is the government department responsible for the development of the rural sector in Timor-Leste. Approximately 75 percent of the population live in rural areas; the majority of which derive their livelihoods from agriculture. Despite the importance of the sector, and significant investments made by successive governments, the sector’s performance has been mixed and productivity levels remain low. The ministry therefore works to develop a sustainable, competitive and prosperous agricultural sector that can reduce poverty, ensure food and nutrition security, and promote employment and economic growth in the agricultural sector.

About the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT)

The PADTL2 project is funded by MFAT as part of the New Zealand Aid Program, which seeks to promote prosperity and stability in the Pacific and beyond. The aid program provides financial and technical assistance to reduce poverty and help achieve sustainable development in developing countries. With the aim of creating a more prosperous, secure and equitable world, New Zealand Aid works with a wide range of partners and provides humanitarian assistance to people affected by natural disasters and conflicts.

About WorldFish 

The PADTL2 project is led by WorldFish, an international, nonprofit research and innovation institution that creates, advances, and translates aquatic food systems science into scalable solutions. We vision an inclusive world of healthy, well-nourished people and a sustainable blue planet, now and in the future. Our mission is to end hunger and advance progress on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals through science and innovation to transform food, land, and water systems with aquatic foods for healthier people and the planet. WorldFish is part of CGIAR, the world's largest agricultural research and innovation network.

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CGIAR is the world’s largest global agricultural innovation network. We provide evidence to policy makers, innovation to partners, and new tools to harness the economic, environmental and nutritional power of agriculture. CGIAR has a wealth of experience and knowledge spanning 50 years that builds on a track-record of innovation and world-class research. Thanks to our funders, CGIAR research has transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of people through tangible research outcomes. 

The 15 CGIAR Research Centers are independent, non-profit research organizations, conducting innovative research. Home to more than 8,000 scientists, researchers, technicians, and staff, CGIAR research works to create a better future for the world’s poor. Each Center has its own charter, board of trustees, director general, and staff. CGIAR Research Centers are responsible for hands-on research programs and operations guided by policies and research directions set by the System Management Board. 

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