Seasonality, labor and integration of aquaculture into southern African smallhold farming systems

Fish production on Malawian smallholdings is generally limited by the quantity and quality of inputs to the pond (Brummett and Noble 1995). The timing of labor availability and other farm activities limit the amount farmers put into their ponds resulting in lower growth rates and yields. There is potential for improving production and yields through modifications of production schedules to accommodate other farming activities. Limited material and labor inputs among farming system enterprises can be better allocated by considering seasonal availability of inputs and adapting the pond and fish farming technology to the farming system. This case from Malawi demonstrates that aquaculture technology that neglects the annual cycle of events and constraints on the farm will not be easily integrated into the farming system. Focusing on technology that maximizes fish production rather than facilitation of adoption and integration has been a feature of the majority of African smallholder agriculture/aquaculture projects. Farming Systems Research (FSR) must identify niches and opportunities for system improvement for it to be worth supporting as a development intervention.


Citation:

Brummett, R.E. (2002)
NAGA 25(1): 23-27
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