Aquaculture and the Rural African Farmer

Publication year: 

Fish from Malawi's lakes provide approximately 70% of the country's animal protein, although as the population has increased per capita consumption has declined. Smallholder aquaculture is expanding rapidly in the southern part of the country and has the potential to alleviate some of these shortfalls in fish supply by providing a cheap protein source (01). The film looks at a collaborative research programme developed by the Fisheries Department, the International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM) funded by GTZ, and the University of Malawi. The programme aims to develop aquaculture technology which is appropriate to the needs of rural farmers (02). Constant evaluation and feedback from farmers to researchers means that the research can be refined according to farmer's needs (03). While there had been a rapid expansion in fish farming in Malawi, catches were variable and often poor. The problems were due to a lack of suitable fish species and feeds and poor water fertility (06), as well as farmers' inability to invest and the lack of integration of fish farming into the traditional farming system (07). An on-farm survey of resources and farming systems allowed researchers to prioritise research needs and develop aquaculture models relevant to the local agricultural situation (07). Methods of increasing overall productivity were investigated, including assessing the use of grass as an input (08), compost technologies for improving water fertility (10), and integrating agriculture and aquaculture systems (12). Methods of harvesting fish using locally available materials were also investigated (14). Open days at the aquaculture centre provide opportunities for farmers and researchers to interact. Farmers also participate in on-farm discussion and testing of technologies (19). The constant evaluation and feedback from farmers to researchers means that research agendas can be refined to meet farmers needs (21).

Interest groups: 
Likely to be of interest to researchers and scientists interested in farmer participatory research.
Director, Information Program, ICLARM, MC PO Box 2631, 0718 Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines. Tel (63 2) 818 0466 Fax (63 2) 816 3183. E-mail ICLARM@CGNET.COM
The two videos "Pictorial Modelling: A Farmer Participatory Method.." and "Aquaculture and the Rural African Farmer" come together on one cassette, price US$40.00 (including airmail postage) or Philippine pesos 400.00
24 mins