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Vietnamese Catfish Farmers Visit Andhra Pradesh

GENERAL - International farmer to farmer interactions for the exchange of technical information dont happen often due to the substantial cultural, language and geographic impediments that are usually involved.

However, according to a report from the Network of Aquaculture Centres Asia-Pacific (NACA), there can be considerable value in bringing farmers together to share their experience and solutions to common problems.

NACA recently facilitated a visit to India by a group of Vietnamese catfish farmers, so that they might observe the operation of collaborative shrimp farmer societies. The small-scale shrimp farmers of Andhra Pradesh have set a world example in their adoption of better farm management practices and coordination of cropping activities, based on clusters of nearby farms.

Through mutual support and leveraging the market power of the group, small-scale farmers have been able to significantly improve crop outcomes, profitability and their livelihoods in an increasingly competitive international environment. The visit took place from 27 May to 3 June.

The Vietnamese farmers were drawn from the four main provinces of catfish farming in the Mekong Delta, also joined by four provincial extension officers, and researchers from Can Tho University and the Research Institute of Aquaculture No. 2, Ho Chi Minh University, and two representatives from NACA, totalling 16 people.

The exchange was undertaken under the auspices of the project Development of Better Management Practices for Catfish Aquaculture in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, funded by the AusAID CARD Programme.

The shrimp farmer associations in Andhra Pradesh began as part of an initiative to reduce the impact of shrimp disease through the implementation of better management practices in small-scale farming clusters.

The initiative was established under a cooperative program between the Marine Products Export Development Authority of India and NACA. As participating farmers began to realise greatly improved crop outcomes, market power and profitability the word spread, with farmers from adjacent clusters and villages forming their own associations and adopting better management practices.

Over the last few years this has brought about a revival of small scale tiger shrimp farming in Andhra Pradesh and other coastal states of India. It has also lead to policy and institutional change within India, culminating in the formation of the National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture (NaCSA).

the Fish Site Editor

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