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4.1 Introduction and overview

In the first presentation Mr M. Halwart introduced the subject and drew attention to the fact that integrated irrigation and aquaculture (IIA) is a strategy to achieve agricultural productivity from every drop of water while improving the financial sustainability of investments in irrigation. Adopting integrated irrigation and aquaculture as part of Integrated Inland Water Resources Management programmes will contribute to improved food security in drought-prone West African countries. In this vein, the objectives of the Workshop were to (i) review the current achievements and constraints of integrated irrigation aquaculture activities in the West African sub-region, (ii) to develop a common approach and shared methodologies for IIA, and (iii) to elaborate concepts of national strategies for the promotion of IIA (Appendix 5). All of the participating countries had responded to a previously circulated questionnaire and most had reported on-going IIA activities such as cage culture in reservoirs, cage culture in canals, fish farming in canals, pond fish culture and rice-fish farming (Appendix 6A-B).

Mr P. Kiepe provided a definition of wetlands and stressed the difference between a wetland as an ecosystem and inland valley bottoms as production systems. He showed the different classification systems available to refer to their specific usage. Wetlands are defined as areas that are partly or completely inundated for some or all of the time and tropical wetlands can be classified into four main groups (coastal plains, inland basins, river floodplains and inland valleys). Inland valleys represent 36 % of total area covered by wetlands in sub-Sahara Africa; they are the upper reaches of river systems, in which alluvial sedimentation processes are almost or completely absent. In addition, Mr P. Kiepe pointed out that there is also a local classification of wetlands and that local names can provide important and unexpected information in site-specific studies. However, at the same time he warned about the danger of erroneous translation of local names. One local name may encompass several different wetland types as we know them. Bearing this in mind, local classification provides a valuable tool in describing IIA locations. With particular regard to IIA in West Africa, three key environments encompass the majority of IIA systems: (1) irrigated systems, (2) flood plains and (3) inland valley bottoms.

Mr M. Halwart and Ms I. Beernaerts jointly outlined the main conceptual aspects of the integration of irrigation and aquaculture. Ms Beernaerts proposed a profile of potential irrigation schemes for integration based on Aquastat, the FAO's global information system of water and agriculture. She stressed the importance to consider both spatial integration and temporal integration, looking at niche opportunities for aquaculture development in each component of the irrigation network and ensuring integration from conception and planning phases of the project cycle. In addition, she mentioned that the integration of aquaculture into the irrigation schemes increases the value of water and hence, it may provide an incentive for necessary investment to avoid water losses. Mr M. Halwart noted that fish farming has been shown to be a viable separate enterprise in individual components of the irrigation system but examples of fish farming integrated into several components are rare to find - which possibly reflects the focus of development activities on single components rather than the whole system. Yet, the compartmentalization of irrigation systems is key for high fish productivity as certain constraints can be alleviated or even completely removed.

Ms I. Beernaerts and Mr J. Moehl highlighted the importance to assess existing IIA activities before developing new ones. Too often, projects have simply adopted a participatory rural appraisal approach to plan and justify new activities without identifying local practices, assessing their impacts and build upon lessons learned. Identification and use of key social, economical and environmental indicators are to play an important role to assess existing systems and monitor changes. A group discussion reviewed some of the more recent studies on IIA in West Africa and underscored common denominators affecting IIA development across the sub-region.

Ms C. Brugere highlighted the importance of economic analysis in technological development. Principles and methods of "first-aid economics" were presented to allow non-economists to monitor economic performance of integrated irrigation and aquaculture systems. Emphasis was placed on the distinction between farmer’s and economist’s perspectives when performing economic analyses. Types of costs and returns were illustrated in the context of integrated irrigation aquaculture operations and the calculation of economic indicators to assess the performance of an IIA activity was explained. A method for planning data collection was presented. The inclusion or exclusion of household labour in the calculation of economic ratios was underlined as critical in results interpretation and the distinction between farmers and economists’ perspectives.

The Asian experience of fish production in large-scale irrigation systems providing full water control was presented by Mr J. Gowing (University of Newcastle) who noted that despite aquaculture potentially being one of the multiple uses of water, the opportunities for, and constraints to the integration of fish within irrigation systems have received little attention so far. The aim is to identify favourable sites where the environment is suitable for aquaculture and its introduction will not have any adverse impact on the integrity of the irrigation system or on other water users. Although systems are equipped for full water control, aquaculture poses a far greater challenge to system managers than irrigation in that continuity of supply must be guaranteed for the duration of the fish growing season. It is concluded that any storage site within the irrigation system is likely to represent a potentially more favourable niche when compared to any canal site, yet water temperature and water quality as well as agro-chemical contamination may be constraining. Furthermore, representation of non-irrigation water users in local management institutions is generally poor. Water rights, access and charging issues therefore require careful consideration in order to promote multiple-use management of irrigation infrastructure. Such social and institutional constraints to IIA development were analysed by participants in working group and plenary sessions to elaborate common problems which could be addressed at supra-national level as well as very specific issues which must be addressed at the local echelons.

4.2 Partners’ reports

Mr P. Kiepe introduced WARDA, the Africa Rice Centre, which represents an international agricultural research centre as well as an autonomous intergovernmental research association of African member states. He indicated that to achieve its objective of increased productivity, efficiency and profitability of the rice sector, WARDA fosters partnerships through networking (three major networks are the African Rice Initiative, the Regional Rice Research and Development Network for West and Central Africa and the Inland Valley Consortium (IVC)). He highlighted that the mission of the IVC which was launched in 1993, is to develop knowledge, technologies and operational-support systems for intensified but sustainable use of inland valleys in Sub-Saharan Africa, using an agro-ecological approach. During the second phase (2000-2004), main activities will include characterization of inland-valley land use dynamics as well as development, evaluation and dissemination of technologies.

In his presentation on UNESCO-IHE and Integrated pond aquaculture in Lake Victoria wetlands, Mr A. van Dam noted that wetlands are important for the livelihoods of millions of people. They provide food and income, support biodiversity and form a hydrological and ecological buffer between upland areas and water bodies. Population growth and the associated environmental degradation exert increasing pressure on wetlands. An example is the Lake Victoria region in East Africa, where human population growth, introduction of exotic fish species, overfishing and eutrophication have led to a deterioration of the wetland resources. For the riparian communities, this means a threat to their livelihoods as they depend on the wetland for food and income from fishing, seasonal agriculture and harvesting of wetland products. There is a need for integrated food production and waste processing technologies that enable communities to secure their livelihood without endangering the integrity of the natural resources. One such technology is integrated wetland pond aquaculture, or "fingerponds". Ponds are dug from the landward edge of wetlands and extend like fingers into the swamp (hence the term "fingerponds"). Soil from the ponds is heaped between the ponds to form raised beds for crop cultivation. The ponds are stocked with fish through natural flooding in the rainy season. As the waters recede, the trapped fish are cultured using manure, crop and household wastes to fertilize the ponds and feed the fish. UNESCO-IHE and partners in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Czech Republic and UK are currently involved in the EU-funded INCO-DEV project to investigate the feasibility of this technology. Research focuses on the technical aspects, and on the socio-economic and environmental impacts of this technology. Also, options for integrating fingerponds with other wetland technology, such as the use of natural or constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment, need to be evaluated. Initial results of the research from Kenya and Uganda show that flooding can yield enough fish for stocking the ponds and that manuring of the ponds can increase their productivity.

The WorldFish Center (formerly known as ICLARM? the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management) and its relevance for IIA were presented by Mr M. Prein. The Center was established in 1977 and since the mid 1980s conducted research on rice-fish systems in seasonal flood plains and irrigation areas. These are an essential part of integrated agriculture-aquaculture (IAA), and more specifically, integrated irrigation-aquaculture (IIA) farming systems. Most of the rice-fish systems studied were located in areas with some form of irrigation, ranging from local and small scale (e.g. sites in Bangladesh, Philippines, Malawi), to large-scale schemes of varying management arrangements (e.g. Philippines, Viet Nam, Ghana), mostly in Asia, and a few in Africa. In all cases, the inclusion of a rice-fish culture activity into the existing farming system required existing water management facilities and experience (in form of rice culture) on the side of the adopting farmers. This proved to be one of the options requiring the lowest level of investment, knowledge and change in existing farming operations. Economic benefits from rice-fish culture in irrigation schemes proved to often be comparable or even higher than the returns from rice culture alone. In terms of water use efficiency, the combination of fish rearing with irrigated cropping, or even the switch to fish cultivation from crop farming, provides opportunities for greater efficiency and economic returns. Given existing investments in irrigation infrastructure and expected trends towards reduced water availability, opportunities to produce nutritionally and economically high-value fish (and other aquatic foods) from water management regimes should be seized to a much greater extent. An example for an equitable and sustainable management of seasonal water bodies for fish culture is the community-based approach as recently tested in Bangladesh and Viet Nam, which is to be expanded and further introduced to countries in other river basins (Niger) in the near future.

Mr R. Bosma introduced the Wageningen University and Research Center which consists of the University, the Dutch Agricultural Research Institutes, Laboratories, and Centers and the International Agricultural Center. This last institute includes the newly-created North-South Center that promotes collaboration with partner institutes and networks in the South. One of the North-South Center’s activities is the Interdisciplinary Research & Education Fund (INREF) which encompasses 6 research programmes with about 50 PhD projects. At present Wageningen UR has contacts in West Africa through three bilateral research/education projects and three collaborative research networks; one of the last is the WARDA Inland Valley Project. Most interesting for the IAA partners are the INREF projects "Convergence of Science", active in Ghana and Benin and POND, that starts research in Cameroon in 2004. The INREF-POND project, in full 'Program for Optimisation of Nutrient Dynamics', intends to contribute to the development of more sustainable integrated livestock-fish-crop farming systems in order to improve farm household livelihood and well-being. The present partners in this program are Can Tho University, Viet Nam, and the WorldFish Centre.

With the sustainable livelihoods approach (SLA) and the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) as tools, the Sustainable Fisheries Livelihoods Programme (SFLP) stresses the participation of the people with a view to ensuring the holistic and sustainable development that will favour strategic, technical and financial partnership. Mr J.C. Njock pointed out activities of the Programme that could have a direct link to Integrated Irrigation and Aquaculture, such as those conducted as part of poverty profile studies and on the development of a strategy for the fisheries enhancement. The poverty profile studies were conducted as part of a pilot project on fisheries co-management in inland waters within the fisheries communities along the Bagré and Kompienga dams in Burkina Faso, Lake Kossou in Côte d’Ivoire, Lake Volta in Ghana and the Sélingué reservoir in Mali - all areas where both fisheries and irrigation agriculture are practised. There are vast areas that could offer the riverine communities the opportunity to diversify their livelihoods through the integration of aquaculture and irrigation. By linking these profiles to strategies for the development of enhanced fisheries, it appears that there is a need for an approach that will integrate government policies on small scale irrigation, fisheries, including aquaculture, food security, land tenure, and poverty reduction efforts. Given this situation, it is necessary to prioritise: (i) the establishment of a body to oversee the management of the various resources of water bodies at the local level; (ii) the strengthening of the organizational and technical capacities to improve participation in planning, resources management, and local development; and (iii) the development of an effective information system to facilitate the collection of useful information to be disseminated both to the professionals and policy makers.

Ms B. Bentz presented the NGO APDRA ‘Association pisciculture et développement rural en Afrique tropicale humide’ (Fish culture and Rural Development Association in humid tropical Africa). Its objective is to promote fish farming in rural areas, based on an extensive and sustainable model. A key factor in the implementation process is the establishment of a responsible professional structure at local level, ensuring sustainability of fish farming activities and ownership of results by the fish farmers themselves. In addition, fish farming development - located in the inland valleys - leads to main changes in existing farming systems. New development opportunities result from the construction of new reservoirs, illustrated by the occurrence of new IIA types (vegetable gardening and rice farming, associated with fish farming). To ensure the best match of the proposed model with the local context, APDRA provides support to fish farmer innovators through periodic training and monitoring.

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