Aquaponics Technology (AT) training was the first of its kind exercised in line with the Competency-based Framework (CBF) aimed toward livestock officers’ competency development, exclusively designed for Livestock Production Officers (LPO) in the civil service. The CBF was proposed by the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) as a part of its larger competency development initiatives for the civil service. The course is based on RCSC’s Guide book on Competency-based Framework for Civil Service, 2019 and then the CBF Guide book for Livestock Production Officers, 2019.
This training marks the paradigm shift of a more structured and exhaustive approach to capacity development of LPO in pursuit of excellent civil service delivery. This also indicates the adoption and implementation of CBF within the aquaculture sector to generate a blue economy. In this regard, 20 Dzongkhag(s) LPOs, and the Regional Manager of the Regional Centre for Aquaculture (RCA), Phuntshothang, joined the course to avail the basics of research-proven promising technology. It was conducted at Kuku Grand, Gelephu with the fund support from the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) through the Department of Livestock (DoL). The National Research & Development Centre for Aquaculture (NR&DCA), Gelephu, and the National Research & Development Centre for Riverine & Lake Fisheries (NRDCR&LF), Haa jointly coordinated the event under the direct supervision of the DoL HQ. Three days of CBF training were completed on May 18, 2022, which was initiated on May 16 in continuation with four days of Pig AI and Herd Health Management training facilitated by the National Piggery Research & Development Centre (NPiRDC), Gelephu.
Figure 1: Chief Guest, guest, resource persons and the participants
Aquaponics technology is one of the newer innovations in food production which is a closed-loop system called aquaponics, where fish and vegetables are grown together using recirculated water. With population levels set to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, more mouths to feed calls for food production methods that are both eco-friendly and resource-conscious. In this regard, to address and enable aggressive fish production in the country such training need is felt inevitable by the core working members of the CBF team. Based on the Training Need Analysis (TNA) and the executive directives and guidance from the DoL, Thimphu, participants were facilitated to learn about an introduction to aquaponics, understanding aquaponics, the design of the system and its’ various components, water quality in an aquaponics system, bacteria, and plants in an aquaponics system. Both theoretical and practical sessions were facilitated by four resource persons from the two apical technical centre i.e NR&DCA and the NRDCR&LF.
Figure 2: Glimpses of theoretical sessions with four resource persons
On the last day, the participants had a guided field excursion to the Commercial Aquaculture Farm (CAF), located at Tashithang, under Umling Geog. In the afternoon, participants acquired practical skills on aquaponics and its technology leveraging the scope of the basic aquaponics technology trail on-farm. Participants had fruitful interactions during practical sessions with the resource persons to relate their acquired theoretical knowledge with that of practical aspects.
Figure 3: Mrs. Tshering Dema, the proprietor of the CAF briefed the participants
AT training is expected to equip LPOs with the latest skills, insight, and tools to enhance domestic fish production’s effectiveness and organizational performance. Dasho Dzongdag, Dzongkhag Administration, Sarpang had graced the closing session to award certificates to both resource persons and the participants. It was also attended by the Program Director, NPiRDC, PD, NR&DCA, Officer In-charge, Thromde Veterinary Hospital and Satellite Laboratory (TVH&SL), Dzongkhag Livestock Officer, Dzongkhag Livestock Sector, Sarpang.
Figure 4: Chief guest, guest, resource persons and the participants during closing session