The Life of Prawns: How Inland Aquaculture is Changing Lives in Sri Lanka

Story Highlights

  • Sri Lanka has vast inland aquaculture resources thanks to its ancient network of reservoirs spread across the country.
  • The reservoirs are a key source of livelihood and income for thousands of families in fisher communities set around the waterbodies.
  • Giant Freshwater Prawn are a king-sized prawn variety that thrives in these reservoirs.
  • MDF partner Divron Bioventures discovered a massive market for these prawns, particularly in Southeast Asia, and decided to create a comprehensive value chain that begins from the hatching of the prawn larvae.
  • Divron stocks the prawn larvae in reservoirs across the country and works with a vast network of collectors (middle-men) and fishers to harvest the full-grown prawn.
  • The fishers are mostly from Sri Lanka’s formerly conflict-affected North. Although they also catch fish, Divron is able to pay them almost four to five times as much for the prawn.
  • The money from the prawn catch is essential to the fishers and their families.
  • Divron exports the prawn to Southeast Asia, but some of the prawn also go to select high-end restaurants in the capital, Colombo.
  • MDF is supporting Divron in strengthening the value chain and ensuring that the process benefits the community in a sustainable way.  Divron’s goal is to expand its stocking to the entirety of Sri Lanka’s reservoir network.

Read more about MDF’s work with Divron here and here.