FAO support to small aquaculture farmers in Asia and the Pacific

Fish and other aquatic animals have become an important source of animal food for the world population after rapid development of aquaculture and fisheries for 3 decades, which currently compose about 30% of total animal production globally.  In 2011, the world per capita food fish supply reached 18.8 kg, increased by 40% over the level of 1990, with 21 kg/capita for Asia. Fish and other aquatic animals provide 20% animal protein intake for 4 billion people and 15% animal protein intake for 3 billion people in 2011. The significantly increased per capita fish supply is largely attributed to the rapid development of aquaculture. Aquaculture has become an main source of fish and other aquatic animals, which was used to be dominated by capture fisheries. In 2011, aquaculture supplied 47.6% of the total food fish in comparison to 9% in 1980.

Asia is where contributes the major production of aquaculture products, accounting for nearly 90% of the world total culture fish and other aquatic animals. Aquaculture in Asia is dominated by small-scale farmer (80% of 12 million farmers). With the continuing increase of the world population and economic growth, it is anticipated that the demand for fish by the world population will increase by 30-50 million tonnes by 2030 from the current level. Considering the exploitation to the wild fisheries resource and trend of aquaculture development across the different regions of the world, whether the increasing demand for fish can be met will be largely determined by the sustainable development of small-scale aquaculture in Asia.

Small aquaculture farm holders are experiencing some drastic changes, the shift from household consumption focused subsistent production to market oriented commercial production and external environment changes such as tightening governance on environment impacts control and resource allocation and increasingly stringent standard for food safety and quality. To adapt to the changes, the small-scale farmers need to intensify, diversify and commercialize the production, which require better management and often lead to increased reliance on external input supplier and marketing channel and greater economic risk and financial vulnerability when encountering disasters.

In order to support  the small-scale aquaculture farmer to effectively cope with the challenges for building up resilience and achieving sustainable growth, FAO has been supporting the member governments in the region to bridge the small-scale aquaculture holders with the market for both sourcing inputs and selling products, to empower small farmers in market negotiation and compliance with changing governance and standards of food safety and quality and to reduce the economic vulnerability of small-scale farmers.

FAO’s support to small-scale aquaculture farmers is provided through both field projects and normative works, which focus on helping the farmers to improve production efficiency through improved inputs supply, introduction of new technologies, cultured species and management practices; to improve the market accessibility of small farmers through improved quality and safety of products, facilitation of certification (group approach) and empowerment of farmer community and to increase resilience of small farmers through disaster risk reduction and management, climate change impact adaptation and social safety-net.

The presentation introduced some examples of FAO’s activities in supporting the small-scale aquaculture farmers, which include various FAO TCP projects for:

  • Improving supply of quality aquaculture seed—“Improving National Carp Seed Production System in Nepal” and “Developing a national shrimp seed certification system in Bangladesh”.
  • Improving aquaculture feed and feeding management --“Enhancing aquaculture production for food security and rural development though better seed and feed production and management with special focus on Public Private Partnership in Bangladesh” and “Improvement of feeding and feed management efficiency in aquaculture production in the Philippines” and “Regional TCP on reducing dependence of marine fish culture on trash-fish as direct food”.
  • Improving aquaculture food safety through promoting BMP—“Improvement Aquaculture food safety in Hubei Province, China”.
  • Improving market access of small-scale farmer--“Certification of small aquaculture farmers in Thailand” and “Capacity building to improve market access for fish and fishery products in Myanmar.
  • Reducing the risk of small farmer--“Strengthening Capacities for Climate Risk Management and Disaster Preparedness in Selected Provinces of the Philippines”, “Development of preventive aquatic animal health protection plan and enhancing emergency response capacities to shrimp disease outbreaks in Indonesia” and “Emergency assistance to control the spread of an unknown disease affecting shrimps in Viet Nam”.
  • Introduction of new species and culture technologies-- “Capacity building  in fingerling production and farming of selected marine finfish species in DPR Korea”, “Capacity building in seed production and juvenile rearing of ark shell and sea urchin species in DPR Korea”, “Technical support to trout breeding and farming in Sri Lanka”, “Sustainable Development of Community-based Mullet Culture in Loniu, Manus Province, Papua New Guinea” and “Assistance for development of Community based Milkfish farming in Nomuka Isl and Tongatapu”.

The presentation also briefly introduced some FAO normative work supporting small-scale aquaculture farmers, such as development of various aquaculture related technical guidelines under the framework of “Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries” and various regional consultations and workshop addressing the priority.


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JICA / NACA / DOF International Symposium on Small-scale Freshwater Aquaculture Extension

The symposium provided a venue for information sharing on extension of small-scale aquaculture targeted to those individuals and relevant organisations involved in various aquaculture development projects. The symposium also assessed and presented the effectiveness of “farmer-to-farmer extension” approaches in the implementation of relevant aquaculture development projects in the region. The symposium was organised by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), NACA and the Thai Department of Fisheries.