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Research Projects - PD/A CRSP 18th Admin Report
PD/A CRSP Eighteenth Annual Administrative Report

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Research Projects
Honduras Project

Subcontract No. RD010A-16 (UG)
Subcontract No. RD010A-17 (AU)

Staff

University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
Brahm Verma US Co-Principal Investigator, US Regional Coordinator
E. William Tollner US Co-Principal Investigator

Auburn University, Alabama
Joseph J. MolnarUS Co-Principal Investigator
Thomas Popma US Co-Principal Investigator

Escuela Agrícola Panamericana El Zamorano, Honduras
Daniel Meyer Host Country Co-Principal Investigator
Freddy Arias Host Country Co-Principal Investigator

Cooperators

Auburn University, Alabama
Robert Nelson

Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical, Cali, Colombia
E. Bronson Knapp

Site Background

Honduras has been a PD/A CRSP host country since the program's inception in 1983 (excluding a brief interruption from 1987 to 1988). In 1999, PD/A CRSP research in Honduras moved to a new site at the Escuela Agrícola Panamericana El Zamorano (Zamorano). A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Zamorano and the University of Georgia (UG) in October 1999; Auburn University (AU) is a collaborating US institution. New research in Honduras is largely focused on enhancing the existing aquaculture network.

Earlier CRSP research in Honduras established a network of relationships with aquaculture producers in the country. The current Honduras project is building on this experience, making use of the pool of trained individualsmany of them with previous CRSP involvementnow present there. In doing so, the Honduras project seeks to help Honduran tilapia farmers take better advantage of the strong potential for aquaculture in Honduras and to help ensure that small- and medium-scale aquaculture production will remain viable in Honduras when the CRSP is no longer active there. These efforts are addressed by strengthening institutional support for aquaculture in Honduras through a multidisciplinary approach.

Research under the Ninth Work Plan largely focuses on Adoption/Diffusion Research. Several topics address the needs of small- and medium-scale farmers, who are faced with inadequate land, fingerling supply, and extension contact. Research will identify needs and approaches to working with small- and medium-scale farmers. Research will also focus on the collaborative process undertaken by those assisting farmers; this will involve planning of several conferences. Additional research will examine placement of hillside ponds as they relate to the hillslope and watershed characteristics; hillside pond practices are most often practiced by marginalized populations such as small family farmers.

Work Plan Research

These subcontracts were awarded funding to conduct the following Ninth Work Plan investigations:

Note: 9ATR2, 9ADR7, 9ADR8, 9ADR9, and 9ADR10 were approved after publication of the Ninth Work Plan. The work plans for these investigations will appear in the Addendum to the Ninth Work Plan. Please see Appendix 5, "Completion Dates for Work Plan Studies," for schedule information. The investigations listed above are collaborative projects between UG and AU.

Networking

Brahm Verma and research associates are forming stronger ties with Red de Desarrollo Sostenible Honduras (RDS-HN; Network for Sustainable Agriculture) associates. The researchers have made excellent networking advances and have connected with several nongovernmental organizationsGlobal Village, World Neighbors, CARE/Honduras, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organizationas well as local ministry officers and farmers.

Conference

PD/A CRSP Annual Meeting at New Orleans, Louisiana, 31 January–2 February 2000. (Meyer, Tollner, Verma)

Linkage of Aquaculture within Watersheds and Concurrent Design of Hillside Ponds

Ninth Work Plan, Appropriate Technology Research 2 (9ATR2)
Abstract

Brahm Verma and E. William Tollner
Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering
University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia, USA

Tom Popma
Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures
Auburn University, Alabama, USA

Daniel Meyer
Department of Biology
Escuela Agrícola Panamericana El Zamorano
Zamorano, Honduras

Joseph J. Molnar
Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology
Auburn University, Alabama, USA

Abstract

Hillsides in Latin America cover about one million square kilometers and provide livelihood for some 200 million people. Farming on the hillside has resulted in progressive deterioration of natural resources due to a combination of overgrazing, poor farming practices, deforestation, and poor water management. The introduction of tilapia production could improve the nutrition of farm families and local communities and provide a means of additional earning for improving economic status. However, improper pond designs and construction and maintenance methods can result in failed attempts to introduce tilapia. An important aspect for designing and successfully introducing tilapia in Honduras and the adjoining regions is to have all stakeholders identify needs that include technical requirements as well as social and environmental issues important in the design of ponds and the production of tilapia.

The fundamental method of pond design is based on the principles of concurrent engineering design methodology. Our stakeholder list included Honduran farmers, extension agents, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, builders, and design engineers. To insure that pond design meets the identified needs, specific measurable requirements for each need were listed and quantitative targets set.

The hillside pond was defined as a pond that is built on land slopes ranging from 2 to 15%. Two types of hillside ponds were considered in this study: 1) a watershed pond in which water availability is entirely dependent on rainfall in the watershed catchment area, and 2) a spring-fed pond in which water supply is entirely dependent on springs. Critical analysis of water balance considering water source, availability, distribution over time, and losses is important in the design of ponds. Thus, water balance models are being constructed for both pond types. For the watershed pond both runoff and evapotranspiration were modeled, whereas for spring-fed ponds only the evapotranspiration and rate of water exchange were used for modeling.

Climate plays an important role in estimating water balance. Based on monthly average temperature and monthly rainfall, we selected six geographic locations distributed across Honduras. Selection was also based on number of years of available records for the candidate locations and on the results of in-depth analysis of rainfall to estimate water availability for watershed ponds. These locations are Comayagua, Choluteca, Santa Rosa, Catacamas, La Ceiba, and Sico. Rainfall data from these locations were used to estimate 90% probability distribution.

Thus, conditions for pond design are as follows:

a) Two pond types: watershed and spring-fed ponds.
b) Three pond sizes: small = 0.05 ha, medium = 0.05 to 0.5 ha, and large = 0.5 ha. The three sizes of pond were selected based on current farm sizes in Honduras and on meeting the needs at the following three levels: tilapia production for meeting needs of the farm family only, the farm family plus the immediate neighbors, and the farm family and the local market on a consistent basis.
c) Three slopes: low = 2 to 5%, medium = 5 to 10%, and high = 10 to 15%.
d) Three ground covers: forest, pasture, and mix of forest and pasture.
e) Selection of regions in Honduras based on adequate rainfall, appropriate slopes, and soil with greater than 20% clay content (to seal the pond).

To address diverse design needs of various communities we have decided to identify modules in the design of ponds and develop concepts that will likely meet a range of anticipated conditions in Honduras. This approach will enable users to receive design information for a customized pond based on their own constraints and needs.

At this time we have selected nine conditions to provide the design for. They include a combination of three sizes of pond (small, medium, and large) and three levels of land slope (low, medium, and high), giving the nine alternatives. The following structural features will be included in the design recommendations: shape of pond, dimensions of pond, outlet pipe, spillway, diversion ditch, pond sealing, drainage outlet, construction methods, materials, cost, labor requirements, and maintenance.

In summary, we are using a design approach that concurrently considers the needs of all individuals and entities that can impact the construction, operation, and maintenance of a pond. Market considerations relevant to the pond design are also being considered. Furthermore, we are developing models for estimating the water balance to make a more informed decision while selecting pond size and type. Although many specifics of pond dimensions and design features have been reported earlier, this approach provides a means for the user to interactively input his/her needs and select a design for the conditions unique to his/her environment and constraints. Finally, concurrently considering needs of all "customers" in the design and selection of construction methods provides a powerful method to have users educated and invested in the design. This approach presents an increased possibility of introducing acceptable pond design and tilapia production as an economic enterprise in Honduras and Central America.

Decision Support for Policy Development: Planning Conferences for Collaborating Researchers, Public Agencies, and Nongovernmental Organizations Working in Aquaculture

Ninth Work Plan, Adoption/Diffusion Research 7 (9ADR7)
Abstract

Brahm Verma and E. William Tollner
Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering
University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia, USA

Daniel Meyer
Department of Biology
Escuela Agrícola Panamericana El Zamorano
Zamorano, Honduras

Tom Popma
Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures
Auburn University, Alabama, USA

Joseph J. Molnar
Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology
Auburn University, Alabama, USA

Freddy Arias
Department of Agribusiness
Escuela Agrícola Panamericana El Zamorano
Zamorano, Honduras

Abstract

This work relates to fostering linkages among national and regional organizations to pursue capacity building and institutional strengthening for aquaculture. All Co-Principal Investigators met in Honduras for one week in October/November 1999. The meeting was devoted to understanding the local conditions that will impact the effectiveness of envisioned linkages for development. The investigators:

1) Toured facilities of Escuela Agrícola Panamericana El Zamorano (Zamorano) and met key university faculty and administrators;
2) Met 12 national and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), extension agents, government officials, and policy makers;
3) Visited several small, medium, and large tilapia farms;
4) Visited sites of earlier work developed with PD/A CRSP support; and
5) Developed plans for identifying individuals and groups who should be included in training workshops on tilapia production, pond design, and decision-making approaches in which tilapia is an alternative for economic development.

Some of the observations made during this meeting were:

Based on these observations, much work is in progress. A one-day meeting with select stakeholders has been organized to present objectives of this research and receive inputs. This will contribute to the development of innovative methods for delivering information and training of individuals and groups that can affect introduction of tilapia culture as an alternative in sustainable economic development. This meeting is scheduled at Zamorano and a follow-up questionnaire is planned to identify NGOs and policy makers for a three-day training session on tilapia biology and culture, pond design, and water harvesting. The three-day workshop is scheduled for September 2000. The group will be introduced to an envisioned Web-based Information Delivery System for Tilapia (WIDeST). The work on development of (WIDeST) is in progress. WIDeST has three important ingredients, namely:

1) Sources of data and information for successful production and marketing of tilapia;
2) The knowledge of decision-making methodology for sustainable economic development; and
3) The knowledge and experience of developing electronic information networks and Web-based online information exchange.

Its goal is to develop a system of information delivery by using the Web-based technology for making available the knowledge on tilapia production and management to farmers, NGOs, policy makers, businesses, consumers, and other stakeholders. WIDeST will contribute to successful introduction of tilapia production and marketing as an alternative in the economic development of Honduras and other parts of Latin America. A key cooperator in this work is the Red de Desarrollo Sostenible-Honduras (RDS-HN). RDS-HN was created with the initial grant from the United Nations Development Programme in response to the 1992 Earth Summit, which mandated assistance to "developing" countries for establishing in-country Sustainable Development Networks (SDNs). These networks were envisioned to provide infrastructural support for rapid communication through electronic information technology. RDS-HN is a very successful organization, and in partnership with Zamorano we planned the three components for the envisioned WIDeST:

1) A website accessible via the Internet;
2) A newsletter published and distributed periodically giving updates; and
3) Presentations and training through meetings and conferences.

Work on the website has begun, and materials for presentations and training are planned for upcoming events in September, November/December, and March/April. The newsletter is not planned at this time due to lack of firm funding. We feel that WIDeST will be a strong contribution from the PD/A CRSP that will initiate an innovative method to foster linkages and communication among all stakeholders. This will be an outstanding legacy of the PD/A CRSP. Of course, considerable development beyond the duration of this project will be needed to complete WIDeST and to increase its effectiveness in sustainable economic development and decision making. This level of development is beyond the scope of this project.

Production Strategies Characterizing Small- and Medium-Scale Tilapia Farms: Approaches, Barriers, and Needs

Ninth Work Plan, Adoption/Diffusion Research 8 (9ADR8)
Abstract

Joseph J. Molnar
Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology
Auburn University, Alabama, USA

Freddy Arias
Department of Agribusiness
Escuela Agrícola Panamericana El Zamorano
Zamorano, Honduras

Tom Popma
Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures
Auburn University, Alabama, USA

Abstract

This study portrays Honduran tilapia producer perceptions of production processes, limitations, constraints, and possibilities through on-farm interviews with a selected sample of growers. Wholesalers, distributors, and urban restaurant buyers typically rely on connections to large-scale producers who can provide a regular supply of uniform product. Small- and medium-scale farmers rely largely on a diverse set of local strategies for realizing cash from their tilapia crops. One significant commercial distribution channel for small-scale and limited-resource farmers often is the intermediary or "coyote." Such persons generally do not live in the community, but instead travel from community to community buying and selling farm products. Rural producers in Honduras face particular difficulties due to the difficult terrain, poor road system, and fragmentation in the rural sector. Students from the Escuela Agrícola Panamericana El Zamorano are currently conducting interviews with approximately 20 tilapia farmers at each of five regionally representative fingerling supplier sites throughout Honduras. As many women producers as possible will be interviewed so that the study results can identify their special problems and needs. An interview instrument was collaboratively developed by the researchers, who are extending the instrument used in a previous study, adapting it to focus on experiences and perceptions of the distribution process. At least 20 interviews have been completed. Previous research showed that almost half the Honduran farmers report that middlemen purchase some or all of their fish. A higher proportion of farmers sold tilapia to restaurants in Honduras than in the other PD/A country samples. Honduran farmers were the most confident about being able to sell their tilapia at some price, even if it was not what they originally asked. The most common distribution method for farmers is pond bank sales to neighbors and to others coming to the ponds at harvest. Word-of-mouth knowledge about prospective harvests or the willingness to partial-harvest for immediate sale was a primary means for marketing tilapia for most small- and medium-scale farmers. Data collection continues from a new sample of tilapia producers that will provide longitudinal data on production practices and distribution strategies to verify and extend the previous research findings.

Technical Assistance for Fingerling Production Serving Small- and Medium-Scale Tilapia Producers

Ninth Work Plan, Adoption/Diffusion Research 9 (9ADR9)
Abstract

Thomas Popma
Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures
Auburn University, Alabama, USA

Dan Meyer
Department of Biology
Escuela Agrícola Panamericana El Zamorano
Zamorano, Honduras

Abstract

A central issue for aquacultural development in Honduras is fingerling supply. Previous PD/A CRSP research reported that farmers in remote places found that fingerlings were difficult to obtain but did not consider this sufficient reason for withdrawing from fish farming. Prior researchers reported that the Comayagua research station, El Carao, is not a reliable supplier of fingerlings for area producers. This observation was recently confirmed by the Escuela Agrícola Panamericana El Zamorano (Zamorano) Principal Investigator (PI) and technician in this project. Private fingerling producers are few and generally geared to supply large-scale commercial operations. The overriding objective of this Adoption/Diffusion activity is to provide technical assistance and training to current and potential fingerling suppliers to small- and medium-scale tilapia producers in Honduras. During the project team visit to Zamorano in November 1999, a strategy and timetable were developed for implementing technical assistance and training of fingerling suppliers. Since then, at least 33 small- and medium-scale tilapia producers (each with 150 to 12,000 m2 of water surface) and 26 restaurants were interviewed by the Zamorano PI and technical team to assess the production and marketing demands for tilapia in Honduras. The Zamorano team continues to identify and provide technical assistance to regional fingerling producers. During September 2000, a fingerling production technical workshop will be provided by Zamorano and Auburn PIs for actual and prospective fingerling producers.

Training and Technical Assistance for Honduras Institutions Working with Small- and Medium-Scale Tilapia Producers

Ninth Work Plan, Adoption/Diffusion Research 10 (9ADR10)
Abstract

Thomas Popma
Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures
Auburn University, Alabama, USA

Dan Meyer
Department of Biology
Escuela Agrícola Panamericana El Zamorano
Zamorano, Honduras

Abstract

The Peace Corps program of technical support to fish farmers was possibly the most focused on-farm assistance to small-scale fish farmers in Honduras, but this program ended in 1995. The national extension program in aquaculture has a presence in many regions, but the effort is fragmented and underfunded. A number of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have been active in rural development, including several active fish farming projects, but expertise in this activity is often insufficient to provide critical technical information required for productive pond management. The objective of this PD/A CRSP activity is to identify the NGOs and agencies interested in incorporating small-scale fish farming in their development programs and then to provide technical assistance and training to their field staff. The training is a collaborative effort between Auburn University and the Escuela Agrícola Panamericana El Zamorano (Zamorano).

In November 1999, the Principal Investigators from Zamorano, the University of Georgia, and Auburn University visited directors and representatives from eleven educational and national and international governmental, nongovernmental, and private agencies involved in tilapia culture in Honduras. During this visit, a strategy and timetable were developed for implementing technical assistance and training of NGO technicians.

As a result of the Ninth Work Plan activity entitled "Decision support for policy development—Planning conferences for collaborating researchers, public agencies, and nongovernmental organizations working in aquaculture," (9ADR7), NGOs involved in rural development and with interest in evaluating tilapia culture as a component in the programs were identified. Meyer and F. Arias of Zamorano will offer a one-day workshop in August 2000 on the technical and economic aspects of tilapia culture, with emphasis on its potential value in rural and community development programs. The resulting clearer understanding of the benefits and constraints of tilapia culture will help NGOs make more knowledgeable decisions about the appropriateness of tilapia culture in their overall rural development program. In September 2000 technical staff of interested NGOs will attend a three-day workshop on technical aspects of fingerling production and grow-out of tilapia.

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