The ten-year national development plans prepared by the participants would require considerable financial investment for implementation. It was agreed that a good part of the financing has necessarily to be raised internally from government and commercial sources. However, because of the high profitability of certain culture systems and the significant socio-economic benefits that may be derived by small farmers and fishermen by the adoption of aqua-culture as an integral part of rural development (a priority area for financial support by the World Bank Group), there are definite possibilities for attracting external financing for aqua-culture development. As already stated in section 2, only very limited financial assistance has so far been provided for aquaculture by the World Bank Group, and one of the reasons for this is the lack of expertise and basic economic data in the countries for preparing bankable projects based on detailed feasibility studies. The need for FAO/UNDP assistance in this regard was again emphasized in the Workshop while discussing this topic. The Aquaculture Development and Coordination Programme (ADCP) should consult with international banking agencies and try to establish simpler and quicker means of project formulation for financing. Assistance should be offered by the ADCP and other FAO/UNDP projects in formulating suitable project proposals and to obtain aid from bilateral and multilateral agencies. It was also suggested that greater use should be made of the FAO Bankers Group for financing large-scale farming. The Workshop noted that greater difficulties are experienced in obtaining finance for the farming of aquafoods for domestic consumption, compared to that for export.
Ways and means of distributing credit to farmers were discussed in some detail. Although credit is available, credit costs are in many cases prohibitive to prospective fish farmers. Other difficulties arise from a lack of appreciation of the aquaculture problems on the part of bankers, requirements for collateral securities, insufficient duration of lease of aqua-culture sites granted to farmers and the fact that bankable project criteria are sometimes applicable to aquaculture ventures only on a limited scale.
In several countries insecurity of land tenure and ownership of water bodies are detrimental to a wider use of credit facilities. The Workshop was informed that in Indonesia national banks would accept feasibility and prospects of a project in lieu of collateral and that in the Philippines long lease of sites would be similarly accepted. In Nepal the government stands surety for loans taken by new graduates who enter fish farming.
In order to integrate aquaculture fully into the rural sector, the implication of the present institutional framework and the difficulties of cooperative organizations need to be considered. Credit programmes for fish farming in rural areas are being implemented in Indonesia and the Philippines, with cooperation from the government and banks. Experience so far shows the importance of linking credit for aquaculture development with technical assistance and extension work among farmers, as in the case of agricultural credit.
The Workshop discussed in some detail the advantages and disadvantages of joint ventures with foreign partners. While appreciating the opportunity offered to attract financial resources and managerial expertise, reservations were expressed because of the vested interests that are at times involved. Successful joint ventures, as in the case of eel culture in Thailand, have shown the benefits that can be derived from joint venture arrangements if the interests of all the partners are suitably safeguarded.
In order to overcome the difficulties that aquaculture development faces in the Asian region in respect of credit and financing, the Workshop agreed on the need for external assistance for undertaking feasibility studies and developing the necessary understanding of aqua-cultural requirements among credit-providing institutions as well as for training staff in fund and credit management. In this connexion the need for development of crop insurance schemes was stressed, which again would require the formulation of operational standards to be used for determining the risks involved.