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One of the major tasks of the newly established Regional Lead Centre for Integrated Fish Culture of the Asian Network of Aquaculture Centres is research on fish-livestock-crop farming. The analysis and rationalization of existing practices, investigation for a scientific understanding of traditional practices in China and experimental studies to evolve optimum levels of integration for high production, efficient utilization of resources and maximum benefit to farmers, are considered to be of great importance in the expansion of this type of farming. In order to render them suitable for adoption in other countries, the systems of integration as practised in China will have to be modified in respect of species of fish, crops and livestock to be raised, and the nature of operations adjusted to the motivation for integration. The research programme of the Lead Centre will therefore be directed to:

(i) the collection and critical analysis of experience in integrated fish culture in China and elsewhere;

(ii) collection of data on the availability of various forms of farm wastes and by-products suitable for use in the ponds of an integrated farm; and

(iii) experimental and observational research for the purpose of developing different models of integration suited to different agro-climatic and socio-economic conditions.

A task force consisting of the following members met in Wuxi to prepare an outline research programme for the Centre:

Madam Yang Xian-zhang


Prof. Lu Gui


Mr. Shan Jian


Mr. Hu Bao-tong


Mr, Yang Hua-zhu


Dr. G. Schroeder


Dr. H. Buck


Dr. T.V.R. Pillay


Mr. Chen Foo Yan


Besides discussing the practices and problems of integrated farming with Chinese officials, scientists and extension workers, the task force also visited some typical integrated farms and consulted the farmers to ascertain their views on the role of scientific research in improving the efficiency of current practices.

In formulating the outline programme of research, the task force adopted a time frame of seven years (as in the case of all the other Lead Centres of the Asian Network), consisting of a two-year start-up period followed by a five-year period of concentrated research. Based on a review of the results achieved by the end of that period, a further programme of research will have to be outlined.

The task force has attempted only to outline the major studies to be carried out, the problems to be solved, and the research approaches to be followed. The detailed designs of experiments and observations are expected to be prepared by the research teams of the Centre with the help of consultants as required. Assistance of external consultants may be necessary to initiate some of the investigations, and at a later stage to evaluate the results or solve unexpected technical problems faced in the investigations.

The Centre has the necessary laboratory facilities and some of the specialized equipment for research will be provided through the FAO/UNDP Regional Project for the establishment of a Regional Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia. A farm of its own is being developed for experimental work, but it is expected that in the interim and even later the two large integrated fish farms in its neighbourhood (Ho Le Commune and Li Yuan Commune) can also be used for observational and experimental work through appropriate arrangements with the Communes/ Production Brigades concerned.

Initially the research staff of the Centre will consist of scientists of the Yangtze River Freshwater Fisheries Research Institute, who have been transferred to Wuxi. They cover the following areas of expertise:

- aquaculture
- limnology
- algology
- ichthyology
- genetics
- chemistry
- fish capture

As one of the major areas of research in the Centre will relate to pond dynamics and particularly mineralization of organic wastes, including the role of microbes and their effects on fish growth and health, it is essential to strengthen the staff with a micro-biologist, a fish physiologist and a biochemist.

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