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Catfish BMP Project Proving Successful

VIET NAM - Initial activities of the development Project Better Management Practices for Catfish Aquaculture in the Mekong Delta has taken place at Can Tho University.

Organised by the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific(NACA),the training and information sessions were followed by several days in the field visiting farms and processing plants which proved interesting and illustrated how improvements could be put into practice.

Growth

The catfish farming industry in Vietnam is growing at a phenomenal rate. In 2007 the industry is estimated to have produced at least 1.2 million tonnes of catfish, already exceeding the government’s 2010 development target and delivering a massive US$ 1 billion economic boost to farmers and rural communities.

As the industry is still in a phase of rapid expansion considerable interest has arisen in issues of sustainability, with several NGO groups vying to develop certification ‘standards’ for catfish production. However, previous experience has shown that such standards can be difficult for small scale farmers to follow, particularly when high targets are set without any practical guidance to farmers on how to meet them.

The philosophy of the catfish ‘better management practices’ (BMP) project is different. The aim of the project is to help farmers improve their management practices, delivering increased profitability and environmental performance by making more efficient use of resources. BMPs are implemented voluntarily and the incentive to adopt them is provided simply by their direct economic benefit to the farmer. BMPs are not certification standards, but they can help build the capacity of farmers to meet them.

The project is being implemented over a period of two years by the Department of Primary Industries Victoria, the Research Institute for Aquaculture No. 2 and Can Tho University together with NACA. It is funded by AusAID’s Collaborative Agricultural Research and Development Programme.

For more infomration on the BMP catfish programme click here

Ellen Hardy

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