The 2004 tsunami that devastated Aceh in Indonesia left in its wake thousands of communities without homes and livelihoods.
After a lengthy rebuilding process, WorldFish, in partnership with the Aceh Society Development (ASD) Cooperative, has been helping to put these communities back on their feet through providing vital assistance in the development of local small-scale aquaculture enterprises.
Local Acehnese shrimp farmer, Rusli, was left with little after the tsunami tore through his village.
WorldFish and the ASD Cooperative helped Rusli to establish and manage a new shrimp farm, providing him with a source of income and hope.
“Before I had shrimp ponds, my life was difficult and it was hard to find money to support my family. Now, I’m happy because my life is no longer a mess, and I’m proud of my accomplishments,” Rusli said.
Rusli’s story echoes thousands of small-scale fish and shrimp farmers that now operate in the area.
Senior scientist Dr. Michael Phillips from WorldFish has been at the forefront of the program to help improve the productivity of the pond systems in Aceh, and connect the ASD Cooperative with vital investment partners who can ensure that the local farmers get the most out of their fish and shrimp farms.
“Aquaculture, if done in the right way, can improve the lives of a lot of people like Rusli in Aceh. With investment and the right partnerships there is the opportunity to do something that creates good for the people there,” Dr. Phillips explained.
Research in the Aceh communities has shown that investment in small-scale aquaculture leads to positive social and economic outcomes. ASD Cooperative Executive Director, Muhammad Hanafiah, said that facilitating the local farmers to rebuild their fish farms not only generates income, but also encourages trauma healing.
WorldFish is committed to using sustainable aquaculture to reduce poverty and hunger, and improve the lives of fish and shrimp farmers such as Rusli in Aceh.
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