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NACA Train Business Skills on Small-scale Fish Farms

by 5m Editor
12 May 2009, at 1:00am

GENERAL - The Network of Aquaculture Centres Asia-Pacific (NACA) has taken the initiative to develop and deliver a short course in business management principles and practices for small scale aquaculture in partnership with the United Nations University, Fisheries Training program (UNU-FTP) and the Faculty of Aquaculture, Nha Trang University, Vietnam.

The importance of small scale aquaculture in Asia has grown rapidly and it now accounts for more than 90 percent of the world production, reports NACA . This has happened without the explicit application of principles of business management and planning. With increasing demand on the primary resources used and increasing prices of the inputs such as feed in aquaculture, there is a need for small scale farmers to be trained in business management if they are to remain economically viable and sustainable. Formal training and extension activities in aquaculture tend to focus on biological and technological aspects as skills and knowledge in the establishment and management of businesses are rarely included in tertiary curricula of regional fisheries and aquaculture teaching institutions.

In the context of globalisation and breaking down of barriers between small - and large scale enterprises, as well as cultured low valued species gaining increasing export market share, such as in the case of the striped catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) from Vietnam and rohu (Labeo rohita) from Myanmar there is an urgent need for business management skills to be developed in aquaculture, amongst small scale practitioners and trainers.

The United Nations University- Fisheries Training program (UNU-FTP) has thus far concentrated on fisheries management. Recognising the importance of aquaculture as an important contributor to food fish production and livelihoods, particularly in developing countries, the program has begun to address these aspects. In this regard the UNU-FTP expertise on business management and its fisheries related experiences could be harmonised and utilised to meet the needs of the small scale aquaculture farming systems in developing countries, and the first steps in this direction were undertaken through discussions with NACA.

A course development workshop was held at the Faculty of Aquaculture, University of Nha Trang, Vietnam, 15th to 22nd of October 2008 discuss the target group and design of the course, outline the content, budget and implementation schedule. Based on the recommendations of the above workshop (workshop report available elsewhere) and further deliberations between NACA, UNU-FTP and NU it has been decided:

  • To develop a two week course utilising Icelandic and regional expertise in business management and aquaculture.
  • That the target group should be personnel involved in aquaculture planning and development in relevant government departments, government agencies and/or the private sector in Vietnam and the region.
  • To integrate the material developed for the course into the regular degree programmes offered by the Faculty of Aquaculture, Nha Trang University, Vietnam with a view to adapting and extending it to other fisheries and aquaculture academic institutions in Asia.
  • A secondary and a relatively medium term objective will be to adopt this training material for delivery adapting and extending it to farmer groups and selected farming communities.

5m Editor