The Mekong River is one of Asia's greatest rivers. It is the lifeblood of millions of small-scale farmers and fishers in China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. In the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), the river is particularly important because for the landlocked country, the Mekong is "the Sea of Laos." In southern Lao PDR, fisheries for native fish species constitute an extremely important source of subsistence protein and income for local people.
Floodplains are characterized by a period of several months when the land is not available for agriculture and large and open areas are used for fisheries. Enclosures in the flooded areas can be utilized to produce a crop of stocked fish, in addition to naturally occurring self-recruited species. The WorldFish Center and the Research Institute for Aquaculture no2 (RIA 2) tested options for community-based fish culture in floodplain enclosures in the Mekong Delta. The trials yielded fish production in the range of 61–179 kg ha-1.
Fish production on Malawian smallholdings is generally limited by the quantity and quality of inputs to the pond (Brummett and Noble 1995). The timing of labor availability and other farm activities limit the amount farmers put into their ponds resulting in lower growth rates and yields. There is potential for improving production and yields through modifications of production schedules to accommodate other farming activities.
The relative growth performance of the GIFT strain Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) was compared under integrated and non-integrated conditions with the best performing ‘indigenous’ Fijian tilapia strain, O. niloticus ‘Chitralada’ in Fiji. Replicated trials in hapas over two generations (cool and warm seasons) showed that the growth performance of the GIFT strain was significantly better than Chitralada under both integrated and non-integrated culture conditions.
In order to develop aquaculture systems and technologies relevant to the maize-based famring system in rural Africa, ICLARM is conducting farmer-participatory research in Malawi. This involves farmer-researcher interaction throughout the aquaculture program. The whole research process involves a continuing transfer of information and ideas between farmers and researchers so that research agendas can be adjusted to meet changing needs as indigenous aquaculture systems evolve.
Fish is the main animal protein source for the people of Bangladesh. In spite of vast water resources, fish production is in decline, resulting in protein-energy malnutrition. Farmers participating in on-farm research developed low-input sustainable aquaculture practices that benefit the poor farmers, who constitute the bulk of the population. Farmer-oriented studies have confirmed the viability of culturing silver barb (Puntius gonionotus) and nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) in seasonal ponds. Productions of 1,2052,156 kg of P.
The production characteristics of shrimp farming in Bangladesh are reported based on a panel of farms for the period 1998 to 2002. The data allow for a profit decomposition based on the Törnqvist index, where differences in relative profits can be explained by differences in productivity, prices, and pond size. The indices indicate that pond size is the most important factor in determining profitability and that the largest farms are the most profitable. However, productivity measured as profit per hectare is only weakly positively correlated with pond size.
The status of integrated agriculture-aquaculture (IAA) in Asia is reviewed, with an emphasis on rural small-scale systems. Existing IAA systems within mixed farming systems are characterised and the economic and ecological role of aquaculture described. The importance of nutrient recycling of otherwise unused waste materials as an important element and a benefit of integration is emphasised. Approaches for newentrants to explore and plan integration on their farms are presented.
Traditionally fish have been a natural component of rice-ecosystems. Intensive agriculture has led to degradation offish habitats, resulting in disappearance of fish from rice fields. The economic viability and impact on the environment of integrating aquaculture with agriculture during rainfed and irrigated rice growing seasons were studied in 256 farms in Bangladesh. Farmers on an average obtained fish production of 230 and 214 kg ha-1 during irrigated and rainfed seasons, respectively.
In the past, agricultural researchers tended to ignore the fisheries factor in global food and nutritional security. However, the role of fish is becoming critical as a result of changes in fisheries regimes, income distribution, demand and increasing international trade. Fish has become the fastest growing food commodity in international trade and this is raising concern for the supply of fish for poorer people. As a result, the impact of international trade regimes on fish supply and demand, and the consequences on the availability of fish for developing countries need to be studied.