Report on a mission to Thailand and Bangladesh, 11 March - 12 April 1991 to conduct a socio-economic survey of aquaculture and feed utilisation
Bennett, C. J.
Watson, I. G.
- Publisher: Natural Resources Institute
The scope for development of small-scale aquaculture as an income generating activity is considerable. Aquaculture has a number of advantages for those with the necessary access to water resources. These include high returns to labour, low initial capital outlay and excellent synthesis within the existing farming and socio-economic system. The mission was particularly struck by the possibilities presented by semi-intensive approaches to increasing yields. These include supplementary feeding and pond fertilisation. Greatly increased production is possible without the complex technology, management know-how or large amounts of working capital usually associated with intensive fish farming in developed countries. The development of appropriate fish production strategies in collaboration with farmers has proved particularly successful, producing widely extendable recommendations which are highly robust. The value of pre-project social and economic appraisal was also highlighted. Where this had been absent, projects were inadequately designed to meet the needs of the market. The mission made particular note of those projects which endeavoured to adopt a demand-led approach. These were markedly more successful than those which were technology led and neglected the needs of the end user. Key social and economic constraints to further development are: provision of credit, access to resources by disadvantaged groups, particularly women, and marketing of fish. Technical constraints were considered subordinate to access to know-how. The use of a process approach to developing new technologies was seen to achieve higher rates of adoption. By this we mean a step-by-step progression in partnership with the beneficiaries in which the perceived needs of the collaborators are addressed iteratively, combining available knowledge and technical know-how to produce pragmatic and usable solutions. There is now, and will be in the future, an increasing need for simple feed for fish. The development and utilisation of feed resources within existing farming systems should follow the approach outlined above and elsewhere in this document. The possible financial, economic and social benefits from increased utilisation of aquatic resources in this way are great. A number of opportunities exist for N1U and these are utlined. In addition, it is recommended that NRI consider its current work programme in the area of small-scale aquaculture farming systems in the light of these findings. The expansion of demand for know-how presents opportunities for consolidation of our comparative advantages, particularly in the areas of socio-economics, social development, farming systems research, feed technology, and process technology.