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Mud Crab Farming Reaches Milestone in Timor-Leste

26 September 2014

TIMOR-LESTE - Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), ACDI/VOCA’s Mud Crab and Fish Cultivation project recently held a special event marking a major milestone for farmers in the Dili and Liquica districts who are now equipped with 20 new ponds to better support local cultivation of mud crabs—a high-value agricultural product that yields good incomes for these rural producers.

“Thanks go to the entire ACDI/VOCA team in Dili, Timor-Leste, for their hard work and dedication in the coordination and organization of the pond-launching ceremony and to the American people through USDA for making it all possible,” said Steve Beard, ACDI/VOCA chief of party.

New Aquaculture Effort to Foster Future Harvests

Mud crabs (Scylla serrata) are a prized delicacy throughout Asia, commanding high prices in restaurants and hotels. The Mud Crab and Fish Cultivation project works with coastal communities to raise mud crabs and fish and helps those communities connect to markets to sell their products.

The project celebrated in August the completion of 20 ponds built in the Dili and Liquica Districts located in the coastal region of northern Timor-Leste. The crabs and fish will be sustained by supplemental feeding until they reach marketable size.

Event attendees included approximately 200 mud crab and fish producers, Timor-Leste Secretary of State for Land and Property Jaime Xavier Lopes, Timor-Leste Secretary of State for Fisheries Rafael Pereira Gonçalves, representatives from three major Dili-based grocery chains, Timor-Leste USAID Economic Growth officer, NGO representatives, and ACDI/VOCA staff. The event featured a traditional ceremony, a local band, a tour of the ponds to feed the fish and crabs, speeches by visiting dignitaries, cake cutting, and lunch for participants.

The new ponds are stocked with approximately 17,000 mud crabs and more than 35,000 milkfish. The producers are feeding the crabs and maintaining the sites to ensure a successful harvest later this year and in early 2015.

“The Mud Crab and Fish Cultivation team hopes the pond launching event will prove to be only the beginning of a more successful and stronger aquaculture sector in Timor-Leste,” Mr Beard said.

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