15. Research and education for the development of integrated crop-livestock-fish farming systems in the tropics.
Publ. by ICLARM, MC P.O.B. 1501, Makati, Manila, Philippines; ISBN 971-1022-46-x; 1988, 47 p. + annexes
In this publication, an attempt is made to create a framework for a truly interdisciplinary approach to research and education in integrated farming - a fusion of agricultural and aquaculture sciences.
Hunting/gathering/fishing preceded the development of agriculture but are still of importance in many third-world countries, particularly with regard to fish. Indeed, the capture of wild fish, as opposed to aquaculture, is still the major source of fish in most third-world countries.
The crop, livestock and fish subsystems may function independently in certain farming systems, and their products be only additive. An output from one subsystem in an integrated farming system, which otherwise may have been wasted, becomes an input to another subsystem resulting in a greater efficiency of output of desired products from the land/water area under a farmer's control. There is synergism in integrated farming since the working together of the subsystems has a greater total effect than the sum of their individual effects.
That means the word integrated is derived from the Latin verb "integrare", which means to make whole, to complete by addition of parts, or to combine parts into a whole.
The main biological feature of an integrated farming system is byproduct recycling; but improved space utilization, in which two subsystems occupy part or all of the space required for one subsystem, may be an important aspect of increased productivity. A major socioeconomic benefit of integrated farming is that inputs to the various subsystems that comprise the farming system tend to be intra-farm, with a diminished reliance on inter-farm or agro-industrial inputs. Integrated farming systems also spread the risks associated with farming because of the increased diversity of produce. They also lead to a more balanced diet for the farming family that chooses to eat some of its own produce.
A schema is presented in this study of the possible evolutionary development of integrated farming systems to set the research framework recommended here in an appropriate context.
Aquaculture science is a relatively new field of study.
The attention normaly remains narrowly focused on the fish and the aquatic environment rather than on the farmer and the whole farm.
The greatest scope for the development of integrated crop-livestock-fish farming systems is in the humid tropics. This is where the need is also greatest.
This climate allows tropical fish to grow year-round.
The integrated farming systems discussed in this study make use of tropical fish, particularly the omnivorous tilapia which has been hailed as the "aquatic chicken" of the future. Tilapias breed and grow year-round in the tropics.
Integration of aquaculture with agriculture is more developed in Asia than in any other region of the world. Integrated farming systems are presently used by only a very small minority of farmers in a few countries and have not progressed far in terms of productivity and efficiency from their traditional beginnings.
A vast potential still exists for many more of Asia's numerous and needy small-scale farmers to enjoy the benefits of integration of aquaculture into farming systems. To realize this potential requires a new research and education program, as is proposed in this publication.
For Africa, the potential for aquaculture and integrated farming development is far less certain.
For many African nations there are serious constraints to aquaculture and integrated farming development.
A holistic view of the farm is essential. Aquaculturists must learn to understand existing crop and crop-livestock farming systems and agricultural researchers the fish farming subsystem. The processes of research and education for the development of integrated farming systems are therefore closely interlinked. This calls for an innovative approach to bring aquaculture into the mainstream of agriculture.
A cautious approach to aquaculture development is needed; not a rush into development by transfer of foreign technologies. Such a cautious approach should best be undertaken in parallel with further research for the development of Asian integrated crop-fish and crop-livestock-fish systems for which reliable management guidelines are still lacking.
1084 92 - 3/134
Asia, Philippines, study, goat/fish farming, culture periods, tilapia
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