Objectives of inland aquaculture development in poor rural areas are diverse. Rural aquaculture provides job opportunities, income and nutrition, even if its production scale is small. Particularly in monsoon Asia, a small scale aquaculture could effectively integrated into agrarian economy, with the support of appropriate technologies and the provision of seeds. Freshwater fish farming supplies animal protein to poor farmers, for household consumption, and markets the volume left over to earn additional income. Through the development of integrated fish farming system, farmers effectively use their agricultural and natural resources including water. This increasingly creates job opportunities both inside and outside household economy. With a high productivity of fish farming, the poor may purchase fish at cheaper prices in local market and eliminate malnutrition. Vulnerability of rural people and community will be reduced by achieving food security. The integration of inland aquaculture into rural development is an effective method to raise social stability.

Many attempts to extend small-scale inland aquaculture have been made so far in many parts of Asia and some parts of Africa. According to lessons learnt from these experiences, stable seed production is the most decisive factor to develop freshwater fish farming in poor rural areas. Seed production technology, with ensuring the supply of good quality brood stock, should firmly be built. Along with an increasing number of grow-out farmers, seed production will be highly commercialised, contributing to a growth of local economy. Yet another important factor is to introduce and extend grow-out technology fitted into with the local conditions of production. Indigenous technology of fish farming can be improved by adequate extension services which train farmers to grow out economic species in less-intensive and cost-effective ways. In cases where a conventional extension service hardly works, small-scale seed farmers transfer grow-out technology to their customers while selling fingerings. Fostering such a practical and market-oriented relationship between seed and grow-out farmers is defined “farmer-to-farmer approach,” which is flexibly put into practice in many parts of poor rural areas. The presentation focuses the theoretical and workable framework of this approach, by referring to the past and present experiences learnt from JICA’s development projects in small-scale inland aquaculture.

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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.