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Economic considerations in introducing integrated agriculture-aquaculture technology

by Mahfuzuddin Ahmed and Mary Ann P. Bimbao

How to make your farm budget

First, make a cost sheet.

Second, make an income sheet.

How to make your monthly cash flow

Cash outflow

Cash inflow

Cash netflow

Other economic considerations

Opportunity costs

The opportunity cost of a resource (for example, labour, land or cash capital) is the value of the best alternative use of that particular resource. A new technology is worth adopting if the income earned from the use of the farmer's resources is greater than the opportunity cost (or what could have been earned) in other activities.

For example, a farmer's wife spends more time in the farm feeding the fish with rice bran and cleaning the dikes instead of cooking at home for the family. Children also help in the farm chores, thus spend less time studying school lessons.

Risks and market

Heavy insect /disease damage to the rice crop will result in poor yields. Income from rice may not even be enough to recover farm expenses. However, as the fish are kept safe in the pond refuge, sales from them relieve this situation.

Equity/income distribution

Is it going to place significant demand for labour time from family members? Who will meet such labour demand? What is the opportunity cost of additional labour hours in terms of leisure, children's schooling, household work by female labour force, etc.?

Issues for further consideration

Aside from the «cash» orientation of the example presented here, other types of assets are used or gained through the adoption of fish culture. For farmers, of further importance are the resources saved by integration of fish with livestock, i.e. savings for feed, labour, etc., or gains to livestock or crops by introducing fish. For example, this can mean that the pond's capital cost is shared in terms of an irrigation supply for vegetables and drinking water for livestock.

In terms of livelihood options for small-scale households, how can they assess what alternative ways are there to improve family income and nutrition with minimum possible investment, least dependency on purchased inputs and lowest risk? Proposed farming options need to consider these fundamental issues.

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