The partnership is part of a project funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and involving Caritas, the Colombian Norwegian Chamber of Commerce. Pharmaq is part of Zoetis Inc, the world’s largest animal health company, and a kick-off event with project partners took place today in Neiva.
“We believe the combination of Zoetis’ leadership in animal health combined with Pharmaq’s experience in aquaculture health and fish vaccination will allow us to accelerate the advancement of productivity and sustainability in the region,” said Carla Garcia, Zoetis’s country manager for Colombia, Venezuela & the Caribbean.
“Access to best practices and technology will help fish farmers raise healthier fish, secure more sustainable revenue and generate new jobs, which is critical to the economic development of the region and well-being of its population,” she continued.
The main aims of the project are to provide training for tilapia farmers in fish health management and best aquaculture practices. This aims to improve livelihood and youth participation through development of jobs in the aquaculture sector, improve market access and local networking and support research and development into tilapia diseases.
Morten Nordstad, President of Pharmaq, commented: “Our experience from other aquaculture markets shows how the use of vaccines and diagnostics tools can benefit the profitability and sustainability for fish farming operations. This partnership provides an excellent framework for us to share our experience and work with other stakeholders to support the development of the aquaculture industry in Colombia.”
Colombia is a major exporter of fresh tilapia fillets to the United States and aquaculture is an important asset to rural communities.
“The professionalisation of the sector and the creation of strategic alliances between the private sector, civil society and Colombian authorities will increase the fish farmers’ income, which in turn will ensure sustainable food security and reduce poverty. That is our goal with this project,” says Martha Rubiano Skretteberg, Secretary General of Caritas Norway.
The project members will collaborate with governmental authorities, local veterinary associations, NGOs, farming associations and other stakeholders in the industry. In the next three years, the progress made and key learnings will contribute to a longer-term sustainable business model and fish farming infrastructure in the region.