From the Desk of Secretary General
imageGlobally, aquaculture has been playing an important role in food production and recorded an average annual growth of 8% during the last three decades. It is estimated that the world will need an additional 20-30 million tonnes of fish food by 2020 to meet anticipated demand. The aquaculture can step in to fulfill this demand as capture fisheries appears to be saturated. The contribution of aquaculture can also be gauged from the fact that developing countries account for 90% of its production and in some countries, per capita consumption of fish is noted to be very high. In a sense, aquaculture provides direct and indirect livelihood to millions of farmers in rural areas.

In fact, aquaculture has made tremendous strides and innovations in African-Asian countries over the decades, as technological advancement led to commercialization of this sector thereby accelerating production. Further, increased population pressure, environment consideration and loss of access to catches from wild fisheries have encouraged farmers to adopt aquaculture as a supplementary livelihood option. Aquaculture is also a cheap source of protein for poor to alleviate their food insecurity and malnutrition. Aquaculture can be integrated with agriculture in prevailing farming systems throughextension services, increased cultivated area, integration with animal production using wetlands, continuous monitoring, etc., with the objective to derive maximum output.

In spite of the significant contribution of aquaculture in meeting food needs and supporting livelihood, the sector is beset with numerous challenges which, among others, included inadequate financial resources constraining loan to small and marginal farmers, underdeveloped infrastructure and traditional methods of production, weak extension services and market information, low level of technological adaptation, environmental degradation, increasing water pollution, etc. Besides, fragile institutional mechanisms are hindering policy advocacy, governance and participation.

With a view to effectively tackle the challenges and harness full potentials of the sector, there is a need to sensitize the governments to encourage policies and programmes to further strengthen production, processing and marketing of the produce. Besides, capacity building and exchange of experiences, linkages between research institutions and farming community, partnership with private sector to improve infrastructure, provision of micro-finance for small and marginal farmers to get timely inputs like feed, high yield varieties seeds, etc. can help to ensure maximum output.

In view of this backdrop, I wish to inform that AARDO has been focusing on aquaculture as an enterprise for small farmers in its technical activities. Way back in 2007, AARDO organized International Workshop on “Promotion of Aquaculture in Family Farming”. Last year, AARDO in collaboration with Council of Agriculture (CoA) organised International Workshop on “Fishing/Aquaculture Technology and Industry Development” in Taiwan, R.O. China. Owing to the overwhelming response, this workshop was organised again this year in September. It was attended by 12 participants from ten countries. It focused, among others, on Taiwan's development experiences of aquaculture and its biotechnology-related industries; introduction of ornamental fish industry in Taiwan; and marketing of the fisheries products and intelligent aquaculture. It concluded with a set of recommendations for enhanced cooperation for transfer of technology and expertise between Taiwan and AARDO member countries. It is hoped that such programmes will help in contributing in the policies and programmes on the development and intensification of aquaculture as an enterprise in their countries.