Small farmers in developing countries are poorer than the rest of the population, often not getting enough food to lead normal, healthy and active lives. Dealing with poverty and hunger in much of the world therefore means confronting the problems that small farmers and their families face in their daily struggle for survival. One option for economically and ecologically sustainable development of farming systems is the integration of agriculture and aquaculture.
The various types of aquaculture form a critical component within agricultural and farming systems development that can contribute to the alleviation of food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty through the provision of food of high nutritional value, income and employment generation, decreased risk of production, improved access to water, sustainable resource management and increased farm sustainability.
Livestock production and processing generate by-products that may be important inputs for aquaculture. The main linkages between livestock and fish production involve the direct use of livestock wastes, as well as the recycling of manure-based nutrients which function as fertilizers to stimulate natural food webs.
On a global basis, most cultured freshwater fish are produced in Asia in semi-intensive systems that depend on livestock wastes purposely used in ponds, or draining into them. Much of the vast increase in Chinas recent inland aquaculture production is linked to organic fertilization, provided by the equally dramatic growth of poultry and pig production. The use of livestock wastes is still needed, even when high-quality supplementary feeds are available and they are still widely used in more intensive aquaculture systems.
The objective of the publication is to provide an analysis of the evolution and current status of integrated livestock-fish systems in Asia, particularly East and Southeast Asia, as well as to provide a sound technical basis for considering their relevance for the planning of livestock-fish systems in Africa and Latin America.
It is hoped that the conclusions and recommendations presented here will be interesting and thought-provoking for a wide audience generally interested in the subject of integrated agriculture-aquaculture, and particularly policy makers, planners, NGOs and senior research and extension staff. It is hoped that the book will stimulate these people at all levels to ensure that agricultural development provides for reasonable rural livelihoods, a clean environment, and adequate food products.
Jiansan Jia - Chief, Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service
Irene Hoffmann - Chief, Animal Production Service