Global population is forecast to reach around 9 billion by 2050. To feed the world, global agricultural output must increase by around 60% from present levels. This must be achieved against a background of increasing competition for natural resources such as water, feed ingredients and farming sites.
Maintaining environmental integrity while massively increasing food production will require farming systems to reduce their unit production environmental footprint. Many farming practices that are regarded as sustainable today will not be acceptable when scaled up. Sustainable intensification of aquaculture means doing more with less. The Sustainable Farming Systems Programme aims to help aquaculture become a more efficient user of natural resources, both in terms of farm productivity and environmental efficiency.
The programme develops better management practices for major aquaculture farming systems, and promotes aquaculture as a secondary or additional use of water resources. The programme focusses on practical interventions that can be directly achieved by small-scale farmers in a developing country context.
Key activities of the programme are:
Development of better management practices for key aquaculture production systems.
Organising small-scale farmers into associations to facilitate cluster-based approaches to extension.
Development of culture-based fisheries as a secondary use of water bodies.
Development of strategic policy frameworks to guide governments and development agencies in promoting sustainable intensification of aquaculture.
NACA publishes technical papers and manuals for a wide variety of farming systems and related environmental and social issues. Many of these provide guidance on better management practices with a view to improving crop outcomes and on-farm resource utilisation efficiency. By using inputs such as feed and power more efficiently, farmers can simultaneously improve their profitability and environmental performance.
The Quarterly Aquatic Animal Disease report provides information about the status of aquatic animal disease in 21 participating states in the Asia-Pacific region. The diseases covered in the report are reviewed annually by the Asia Regional Advisory Group on Aquatic Animal Health. The report was first published in the second quarter of 1998. It is a joint activity between NACA, FAO and the OIE Regional Representation (Tokyo).
The Education and Training Programme assists capacity building among NACA members through the exchange and sharing of knowledge and skills between members. Activities may take the form of training courses, study visits and personnel exchange. The programme also supports the training components of the other thematic programmes and serves as an outreach arm of NACA. Regular training activities include three to four courses each year on various topics of regional priority in aquaculture development.
The Aquatic Animal Health Programme is a programme of research and development in the field of aquatic animal health. Key Activities of the programme include convening the annual meeting of the Asia Regional Advisory Group on Aquatic Animal Health, coordinating the Quarterly Aquatic Animal Disease Report, bringing regional issues to the attention of global standard setting bodies such as the Office International des Epizooties and facilitating harmonisation in disease diagnostic techniques.