Presentation on the experience of the Asian Institute of Technology in small-scale aquaculture development.

Aquaculture could be a solution to increase the nutrition available as well as to provide additional income source to local farmers, as it is known that the potential demand for small-scale aquaculture using paddy fields, canals and ponds is very high. However, many rural communities have little experience with fish culture. In addition, there are local shortages of the required raw materials for farmers to practice fish culture.

PROVAC aims to increase fish farmers in the target seven provinces of the Southern Benin by using the extension approach so-called “farmer-to-farmer” training. In this approach, the Project supports establishment of core farmers who can produce seeds and homemade feeds. The core farmers then offer technical training for ordinary farmers in cooperation with extension officers at the facilities of core farmers. PROVAC has achieved various technical improvements including in seed production.

An FAO project ignited a first practice of freshwater carp aquaculture in highlands of Madagascar in the late 1980’s. Since then, carp culture has been practiced in the area but the number of farms at present are only few. In terms of tilapia culture, the Rural Development Support Project in Madagascar financed by the World Bank promoted tilapia culture for small-scale farmers in the district of Marovoay from 2002 to 2004.

Fish is one of the most important foods for the Myanmar people since more than 70% of animal protein is taken from fishery products. It has been reported that people in the rural areas, particularly those who live far from the main river systems suffer from a deficiency of animal protein due to insufficient supply of fish. The majority of those are needy farmers and they depend only on crop cultivation for their livelihoods.

The Lao government has set a target to increase fish supply to 24 kg/year/person by 2020. In most cases of aquaculture extension, exotic species have been used as target species.  In view of biodiversity, establishment of habitat and hybridizations with indigenous species in the natural water body, this practice may cause deterioration of the natural biodiversity.  Therefore, to protect the diversifications, aquaculture extension using indigenous species should be promoted.

Freshwater aquaculture production in Indonesia has significant contribution to the total aquaculture production. In 2012 freshwater aquaculture production was 2.15 million tons or 68% of the total aquaculture production of 3.16 million tons (excluding seaweed). The major commodities cultured are common carp, tilpia, pangasius, giant gouramy, African catfish, java carp, and freshwater prawn. Small-scale freshwater aquaculture extension is very important to assist the fish farmers in the region.

In the context of aquaculture technological extension, this paper and accompanying presentation reveal how the government and key UN partners, initiated the farming and breeding of Asian and Indian major carps in the country between 1965 up to late 1970s. Emphasis is given on bighead carp Aristichthys nobilis, which as per 2011 and 2012 official agricultural statistics, ranked 3rd in freshwater aquaculture (17,464 MT) and 6th on inland capture fisheries output (12,119 MT).

Promoting small-scale freshwater fish farming in Côte d’Ivoire was done in two stages. First was awareness and establishment stage (1974-1990) implemented by dense and diverse state support. The second was the professional stage (1992-2002) executed by specific regional projects. Activities targeted small-scale fish farming including promotion of quality amenities, reproducible by the promoters; marketing; and the promotion of research and development focused on the needs of stakeholders.

Fisheries resources play a very important role in Malawi’s national economy, in terms of food and nutritional security of the population. It contributes about 60-70% of annual animal protein supply of the nation. In fact, fish is the readily available source of animal proteins consumed in small amounts among Malawian daily meals, thereby nutritionally supplementing essential amino acids in their diet. Fisheries provides source of employment to over 300,000 people through fishing and associated activities.