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New Light as Mekong Shrimp Farmers Cooperate

HCM CITY, VIET NAM Collective action in disease management, water control and other aspects is crucial to ensuring that shrimp aquaculture is a viable, sustainable practice, Ca Mau farmers have learnt.

The farmers from the southern-most province of Ca Mau gained very useful information and insights after a visit to shrimp farming co-operatives in My Xuyen district, southern Soc Trang Province last week.

Six farmer group leaders, four commune chairmen and five local fisheries extension workers learned about farmer group management, shrimp seed testing, disease management, water control and other collective actions which can benefit small-scale shrimp farmers in addressing day to day challenges.

They had already taken part in a training course in Ca Mau on these issues late last year. The course was developed in connection with a project implemented in My Xuyen District by the Research Institute for Aquaculture No 2 (RIA2) and the Mekong River Commission (MRC), through which farmer co-operatives had been established to promote Better Management Practices (BMP) in breeding shrimp.

After the course, the farmers wished to visit Soc Trang Province to witness directly the functioning of co-operatives there.

"We find the shrimp co-operative model in Soc Trang was very useful for us to follow in our commune," said one of the leaders, Nguyen Dang Khoa.

"These activities are keys to the sustainability of shrimp farming in Viet Nam," said Flavio Corsin, Coordinator of Aquaculture Activities for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Viet Nam.

"It will contribute greatly to the Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue, a WWF-led effort aimed at developing international standards for shrimp aquaculture," he added.

The project will continue for at least another year, providing an opportunity for more experience sharing between small-scale farmers.

There are an estimated half million shrimp farmers in the Mekong delta, most of them are small-scale and operate with limited financial and technical resources.

To address their challenges and the need to conduct shrimp farming in a responsible manner, as well as in line with the central and local government priorities, WWF has been promoting BMPs and the establishment of shrimp farmer groups and co-operatives in several provinces including Soc Trang, and especially Ca Mau, which accounts for 32 per cent of the total shrimp production in the Mekong Delta.

the Fish Site Editor

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