This workshop was part of the AgriFoSe2030 Theme 4 “Livestock-keeping among smallholders for a nutritious diet and increased food security”. The theme is interdisciplinary and covers all cross-cutting issues in the AgriFoSe 2030 program: sustainable intensification of agriculture, the central role of women and young people in agriculture, and access to markets and value chains.
AgriFoSe2030 workshop on aquaculture initiate knowledge exchange between Africa and Asia
In February 2017, AgriFoSe2030 arranged a workshop on small-scale aquaculture to initiate an exchange of knowledge, expertise and experience beneficial especially for the smallholder aquaculture farmers in Africa and Southeast Asia.
The seven-day workshop took place in Vietnam and Cambodia. In total, ca 30 students and researchers participated in the workshop that included several visits to fish and shrimp farms in both Vietnam and Cambodia. The participants were mainly from Vietnam, Tanzania, Cambodia and Sweden. The main objective of the workshop was to bring together researchers and PhD students from these regions to start a knowledge exchange with the aim to boost sustainable aquaculture production and research collaboration.
Bridging the gap between researchers and farmers
- One of the intentions with the workshop was that researchers and students from Tanzania and Cambodia would get the opportunity to look at Vietnamese aquaculture farms, since they have a long tradition and many inspiring examples of small-scale pond farming for fish and shrimps, says Anna Norman Haldén, one of the course organisers.
– An important goal was also to bridge the gap between researchers and farmers; for researchers and students to visit the aquaculture farms and talk to the farmers, and likewise, that the farmers got to talk to the researchers, describing what problems they have, says Hanna Björklund, the other course organiser.
Field trips – an eye opener
The workshop was very appreciated. A senior researcher from Tanzania said that he had wanted to start a south-south collaboration for 20 years. He was very pleased to get the opportunity through AgriFoSe2030 to visit aquaculture farms in Vietnam.
– The field days plus our visit to the aquaculture labs were eye opener to us in that they displayed simple and affordable technologies to address complex aquaculture management issues. My students were particularly impressed on how their fellow students were using simple and cheap material input to facilitate their complex studies, says Matern Mtolera, senior researcher at University of dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
A network for future collaboration is formed
For the participating researchers from Sweden, it was a great opportunity to visit the farms and get a deeper understanding of how the aquaculture work in terms of farming systems and administration in Vietnam and Cambodia.
– We think that this was a good starting point for a south-south-north collaboration. The researchers, but especially the PhD students at the course, got good contacts with each other and we believe that they will continue to use this network for aquaculture collaborations. In addition, they will have a good chance of meeting at SLU through our ongoing capacity building programs with Tanzania and Southeast Asia (Mekarn), says Anna Norman Haldén.
– This workshop was a great experience. Researchers and students really looked at practical details at the farms. After the excursions, they googled details and came back the next day with new questions. Their enthusiasm was contagious! Many participants were eager to start collaborations, says Hanna Björklund.
The workshop was hosted by An Giang University in Vietnam. This young university provided a warm welcome and was happy to host an international workshop. Research and student collaborations with SLU is also a possible outcome from this workshop.
Later, a report from AgriFoSe2030 will come out that describes how small-scale aquaculture is done today in Cambodia and Vietnam and how to bridge the gap between researchers and small-scale farmers.