NACA, Inland aquaculture : Ramping up adoption of catfish BMPs

A new project funded by the European Commission will help Vietnamese catfish farmers improve their efficiency and profitability. The project will assist farmers to implement better management practices (BMPs), working in cooperative groups formed from ‘clusters’ of nearby farms.

Vietnamese catfish aquaculture has expanded massively over the past decade, with annual production now exceeding one million tonnes. Production is extremely intensive, with average yields of around 400 tonnes per hectare. However, the profit margin is very low – just a few cents per kilogram – and farmers are under intense pressure to reduce their production costs.

Scientifically-based better management practices for catfish aquaculture have been developed by a recently completed NACA project. These improved practices increase farm resource-use efficiency, improving crop performance while reducing production costs and environmental impact. The BMPs were developed through extensive surveys of industry practices, consultations with farmers and on-farm trials.

The new project, Development and validation of commodity-specific Better Management Practices for smallholder farmers in the Asia-Pacific region is an activity of the ASEM Aquaculture Platform. The project aims to promote wider adoption of BMPs for key aquaculture commodities, including tra catfish in Vietnam, work on which is being implemented by Can Tho University.

The project held a workshop to discuss BMP implementation in Can Tho, Vietnam, on 16 April 2011. The workshop was attended by 60 farmers and officials from the four participating provinces of An Giang, Don Thap, Vinh Long and Can Tho and organised by Can Tho University. Discussions centred around the formation of collaborative groups to implement BMPs, mechanisms for group operation and governance, requirements for record keeping and standard operating procedures and arrangements for evaluation.

Eleven collaborative farmer groups were agreed to be established by participants, each of which consists of farmers whose properties are clustered within a small geographic area and share a common water supply. Eight of the groups are engaged in catfish growout and three are nurseries that produce fingerlings for sale to growout farms. Each group selected a Chair and Vice-chair and agreed on standard operating procedures and governance arrangements, including the development of crop and water calendars, organisation of meetings, record keeping and liaison with input suppliers and processors.

Participants suggested that there should be regular meetings between groups, including between nursery and grow out clusters. This will assist both types of group coordinate their activities better. For example, growout clusters will develop a crop calendars and then discuss their needs with nursery clusters to ensure that the required quantities and size/quality of seed will be available at the desired stocking time. Participants also expressed interest in inviting processors to attend their cluster meetings to observe improvements in farming practices and encourage them to buy BMP product.

The project will be implemented over two crop cycles, with staff from Can Tho University providing technical support to farmer groups on implementation of BMPs, monitoring compliance and outcomes. At the request of participants, Can Tho University will also provide a technical training programme for one person from each farmer group and two technical staff from each provincial government.

For more information about the project please visit the ASEM Aquaculture Platform section of the website. The ASEM Aquaculture Platform is funded by the European Commission’s 7th Framework project.

Read more about this topic here

Source: NACA website

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One Response to NACA, Inland aquaculture : Ramping up adoption of catfish BMPs

  1. Pingback: Catfish Farming - FISHING WORLD – FISHING WORLD

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