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Malta-funded fish farm in Guatemala

MALTA - Villagers in a remote part of Guatemala will receive much-needed protein for their diet when a fish farm funded by Maltese donations starts operating in October.

Excavation works have already started to prepare the land for the fish farm in ChaparrHn, Guatemala.

The fish farm is a dream come true for Fr Anton Grech, a young Gozitan priest who has been working in San Manuel ChaparrHn, a municipality in Guatemala bordering El Salvador, for over six years.

Excavation work has already started and next month a group of Maltese volunteers from the Mission Fund will be flying over to help complete the project.

The fish farm will spawn tilapia, an indigenous and sturdy fish, which is easy to reproduce under local conditions and is the most resistant species to low oxygen levels and disease.

Backed by the expertise of Carmelo Agius, an international aquaculture consultant, and Maltese funds, Fr Anton is eager to get the project up and running in this remote, inland village.

So far, over Lm5,000 have been raised through the L-Istrina campaign and the personal initiative of Café Jubilee director Alex Scicluna, who had spent an enriching six weeks doing voluntary work in Guatemala and felt he had to give something back.

Together with his two brothers Anthony and Mario, Mr Scicluna has already managed to raise enough money to set up an internet café within the village's school, Colegio Madre Teresa, to link the isolated community of ChaparrHn with the rest of the world.

The next business venture was to help Fr Anton raise more money for the fish farm's capital and operating costs.