Since 2018, a fish farming project has been underway at the Rural Alternative School (ERA) of Miranda, which harnesses water resources and the workspace adapted for the project. With technical support from the rural extensionist Alfonso Molina and the ERA coordinator Fernando Cruz, campesinos (rural peasants) and excombatants assembled aquaculture cages inside the lake located on the land ceded by the campesino association ASPROZONAC to develop collaborative work with its new partners who signed the peace agreement. In 2020, three traditional ponds were installed, expanding monthly fish production. During this process, the World Food Programme (WFP) contributed with the installation of a cold chain to guarantee fish preservation and expand its commercialization chain. Currently, PASO Colombia is supporting the installation of a new Australian tank to scale up this production unit, which connects with new markets in the region.
According to Alfonso Molina, “Australian tanks provide technical guarantees to optimize fish production, as they facilitate water management, oxygen control, and depth and pH leveling. Additionally, fish quality has proven to be much better than the one achieved in other ponds we have at the ERA.” Campesinos and excombatants prepared the land and installed the Australian tank, learning about its care and maintenance. Molina points out that this “is an important bet to increase fish production in the ERA of Miranda: with each tank we reach a production of 10,000 fish every six months.”
Currently, the ERA of Miranda produces 1 ton of Tilapia per month, which is sold in the Campesino Reserve of La Elvira (municipality of Miranda) and to some buyers from Cali. With the Australian tanks, this production can be increased to 8 tons every six months and the production of Nile Tilapia for marketing fillets has begun, harnessing the cold room and vacuum packing plant available at the ERA.
The ERA of Miranda, in which the excombatant cooperative CEPRODET and the campesino association ASPROZONAC participate, is supported by partners such as the World Food Programme (WFP), the Catalan Association for Peace, the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, the National Learning Institute (SENA, for its acronym in Spanish) and the Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization (ARN).