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Introduction

I. Introduction

Historical Overview

The Pond Dynamics/Aquaculture Collaborative Research Support Program (PD/A CRSP) is an international effort to develop aquacultural technology as a means of confronting food security problems in developing countries. The PD/A CRSP is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), under authority of the International Development and Food Assistance Act of 1975 (P.L. 94-161), and by the universities and institutions that participate in the CRSP. Oregon State University (OSU) is the Management Entity (ME) for the CRSP and has technical, administrative, and fiscal responsibility for program performance.

The CRSP is a cohesive program of research carried out in selected developing countries and the United States by teams of U.S. and host country scientists. The resources of U.S. and host country institutions are brought together to improve the efficiency of pond culture systems through sustainable aquaculture. The U.S. institutions participating in the program are Auburn University, the University of California at Davis, the University of Oklahoma, and the Consortium for International Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (CIFAD). CIFAD members include the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, the University of Hawaii, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Oregon State University. Host country institutions with formal linkages to the CRSP through Memoranda of Understanding are the National University of Rwanda, Royal Thai Department of Fisheries, Asian Institute of Technology, Department of Renewable Natural Resources, Agricultural Research Center of Egypt, and Central Luzon State University of the Philippines. Numerous linkages are also maintained with other U.S. and host country governmental and non-governmental institutions, and with private companies and farmers.

CRSP activities were formally initiated on 1 September 1982 after several years of planning. From 1982 to 1987, CRSP projects involved the participation of government agencies and educational institutions in six host countries: Honduras, Indonesia, Panama, the Philippines, Rwanda, and Thailand. Funding constraints during 1986 and 1987 forced a reduction in operations. A reorganization plan was submitted in December 1986 to the Joint Committee on Agricultural Research and Development (JCARD) Panel on CRSPs and the AID Agricultural Sector Council Subcommittee. The plan, which went into effect on 1 September 1987, called for maintaining a presence in each of the USAID geographical areas originally selected. Three country sites were chosen: Rwanda, Thailand, and Panama. However, following that decision, political initiatives in Panama in 1987 made it necessary for the CRSP to leave Panama and return to Honduras. Largely through the efforts of Auburn University and through continuing financial commitments of the USAID Mission, the CRSP was welcomed back into Honduras in April 1988 and began experiments with the assistance of the Honduran Department of Renewable Natural Resources (RENARE) in August 1988.

New Challenges and Events

This year's many programmatic and technical accomplishments were overshadowed by the tragic events in Rwanda. Rwanda's civil war shook the world, and with it our CRSP. The tragedy brought about a sudden and devastating change to our program-the end of our Africa project site, and the death of many CRSP researchers and co-workers. The dedications at the beginning of this Annual Report are but a small sign of the sadness felt by each and every person in the CRSP, especially those who worked on the Rwanda project. In the face of adversity, many personal stories unfolded and are now becoming part of the fabric of our program. It is with this depth of experience and emotion that we embark upon a quest for a new African site.

New site selection, although not part of the past year's activities, will become a major undertaking in the year to come. Not only is the CRSP evaluating alternate sites in Africa, but it is looking forward to establishing a new site in South America. The initiation of new sites, however, depends on the funding received under the next five-year grant. The CRSP has been invited to submit a five-year continuation proposal to USAID. Recent external reviews have rated the program as exceptional and deserving of enhanced funding. New components of the program will target food security, information management, human resources development, and economic growth. The proposal was originally due in August 1994, but changes within USAID and BIFADEC have resulted in major delays. Consequently, the proposal will be a focus of the coming year's work.

Uncertainty within USAID has also been reflected in other ways within the CRSP. The PD/A CRSP received a 10% cut in its 1994-95 budget-less in absolute terms than the other CRSPs, three of which were cut greater than 40%. The CRSP grant, whose expected end date was 31 August 1995, was shortened by 4 months, to 30 April 1995. Funding and time constraints will therefore make the coming year a period of great challenge.

This past year was the "year of evaluations." The beginning of the period was marked by the culmination of the EEP Quinquennial Review (which took over a year to complete), and the undertaking of the USAID Internal Administrative Review. In addition, the Global Bureau commissioned Tropical Research and Development, a consulting firm, to evaluate all of the CRSPs. Their findings shed a positive light on the PD/A CRSP, especially in the areas of program management and overseas impacts. Finally, the Egypt project, a large informal buy-in grant under the CRSP, was evaluated by USAID/Cairo and USDA. The Egypt project received commendations and was recommended for an extension.

Continuing Activities

Global Experiment and Related Activities

With the completion of the first three cycles of standardized global experiments (1982-1987), the CRSP began focusing on the statistical interpretation of data that were collected at the original six project sites. The research program was successfully modified to reflect a reduction in sites without changing the overall emphasis of the CRSP. The global nature of the program therefore remains intact. Experimental protocol, as described in subsequent work plans, conforms to that of the original three cycles to allow comparison between sites over time. Field experiments blend program-oriented (see Global Experiment and Related Studies) and project-oriented (site-specific) considerations in response to the results of earlier experiments.

After years of discussion, the CRSP is moving ahead with plans to incorporate much of the CRSP global data base into the data base of the International Center for Living Aquatic Resource Management (ICLARM), FISHBASE. This will further ensure safekeeping of important data that have been collected through ten years of CRSP experiments.

The CRSP passed another milestone with the completion of a new version of PONDCLASS, now called POND. POND offers a Microsoft Windows™-based decision support system for aquaculture pond management, with enhanced capacities such as economic forecasting and weather simulations. Prospective users of POND are completing a questionnaire; survey results are expected to be useful for improving the next version of the POND software. POND not only provides new technology for fish culturists but also serves as an excellent teaching tool for simulating pond responses to a variety of inputs. The software manual is now available in French; the Rwanda team translated the manual in a cooperative effort with the Data Analysis and Synthesis Team. A Spanish translation of the manual is in progress.

New Brackish Water Site

The termination of brackish water sites in Panama and the Philippines in 1987 focused the approach of the CRSP toward freshwater research.

Now, the CRSP's new brackish water site in Choluteca, Honduras, which opened last year, provides opportunities for studying environmentally and economically important brackish water systems. In accordance with the goals of the USAID Mission in Honduras, the CRSP is conducting research near the Gulf of Fonseca to evaluate environmental impacts and alternative production strategies associated with shrimp farming in that region. Closer collaboration among the PD/A CRSP and Honduran organizations, other CRSPs, and private aquaculture farms is being facilitated through the CRSP's involvement in this new site. CRSP research at the freshwater station in Comayagua, which continues to operate under host country supervision, now focuses on extending CRSP technologies.

Recent Additions to the CRSP Framework

The initiation of a new site in Egypt in October 1992 offered the CRSP an exciting opportunity to investigate pond management strategies in an arid climate. The Egypt project is now part of the family of PD/A CRSP projects, but is unique in that it is funded under a separate grant from USAID/Cairo and the National Agricultural Research Project of Egypt (USAID Grant No. 263-0152-G-00-2231-00). In addition to the mandatory Global Experiment, which is conducted at all CRSP sites, the Egypt project is credited with adding new research themes to the CRSP: polyculture, bioconversion, and biotechnology. Also, through the Egypt project, the CRSP has added new researchers to its list of cooperators and has expanded its institutional affiliations (new participants include the Central Laboratory of Aquaculture Research, Abbassa, and the University of Oklahoma). Longtime institutional members of the CRSP participating in the Egypt project are Oregon State University, Auburn University, University of Hawaii, University of Michigan, and the Asian Institute of Technology.

The Egypt Project presents one example of the CRSP's active pursuit of new opportunities. Because collaborative projects must benefit both the host countries and U.S., as well as fulfill overall CRSP goals, new opportunities are actually quite rare. Nevertheless, the CRSP has been successful in attracting new projects in four target areas: socioeconomics research, gender studies, on-farm studies, and outreach. Projects in these focus areas are showing their first results and are successfully adding a broader dimension to the CRSP experience. Natural resources management has always been a cornerstone of the CRSP; therefore, the continued efforts in this area are not new. What is new is the integration of natural resources work with sociocultural and economic dimensions of aquaculture. Many of the technical summaries contained in the Annual Technical Report of this Twelfth Annual Report present practical economic information in addition to the biological analyses that are the mainstay of this CRSP.

A global social sciences project, which began in June 1992, has US CRSP economists, biologists, and sociologists collaborating with researchers from the Philippines, Thailand, and Honduras in an examination of aquaculture technology adoption and diffusion. This project presents one of the CRSP's first attempts to fully fund a social sciences activity that cuts across a number of CRSP sites. However, continued funding constraints – this CRSP is funded on average at 40 percent of the other CRSPs – may again relegate social science research to be funded primarily through extramural support.

When BIFADEC originally designed the CRSPs, the mandate called for greater focus on research than on outreach. The PD/A CRSP, however, sees the partnership of these two types of activities as critical to achieving positive social impacts. Therefore, greater emphasis during the past year has been placed on farmer participatory research, on extending research information to end users, and on adopting a research strategy that is sustainable and appropriate. The CRSP project in Rwanda, for example, regularly assisted the USAID Mission with its natural resources projects and helped transfer CRSP technologies to Rwandan farmers. In Northeast Thailand, the CRSP is cooperating with scientists from other donor agencies in helping farmers help themselves. The direct input that farmers provide to the research process renders the results more relevant and cost-effective.

Leveraged Activities

This Twelfth Annual Report contains some summaries of studies that were only partially funded by the CRSP; CRSP funds were used as seed money to leverage support from other sources. For example, the funds for testing CRSP models on farms in the Philippines were matched by the University of Hawaii and Central Luzon State University. In addition to the many grants and cooperators affiliated with the CRSP project in Rwanda, the European Economic Community contributed funds to improve and expand the pond facilities at Rwasave Fish Culture Station. In previous years, funds allocated to a Women in Development study helped to leverage funds from a number of sources.

Other continuing studies include investigations in tropical pond soils, which have allowed us to facilitate linkages with other soils projects such as the TropSoils CRSP in Honduras; polyculture research using native species; and research on ecologically sound alternatives to therapeutic drugs used in fish culture.

Other "buy-in" activities include expanding traditional pond dynamics work to encompass a broader analysis of the effects of aquaculture on the environment, and a grant from USAID to support a workshop on integrating a social sciences perspective into mainline CRSP research.

Research Support Activities

The CRSP's direct involvement with farmers, educators, and other end users of CRSP technology is one way to actively extend information generated by the program. Other information is extended through the CRSP's numerous publications, which are aimed at both technical and non-technical audiences. The CRSP's recently initiated international effort to write a comprehensive book on the principles of pond dynamics also involves the aquaculture community at-large. This book will be a useful addition to aquaculture researchers' and students' libraries, and an effort is being made to make it available at an affordable price to people in less economically advanced countries. The book will update and expand on an earlier CRSP book, Principles and Practices of Pond Aquaculture, which is in its third printing.

The CRSP has benefited from its involvement in the CRSP Council, a group composed of USAID-funded Collaborative Research Support Programs, although full participation in this group extracts a high cost in terms of time and capital from the smaller CRSPs such as ourselves. Through the Council, the PD/A CRSP has participated over the years in presentations to Congress, the World Bank, USDA, USAID, JCARD, and environmental groups. One impact of this effort is increased public awareness of CRSP programs.

Many other technical and programmatic accomplishments are described in detail in this Twelfth Annual Administrative Report, which covers the period from 1 September 1993 to 31 August 1994. This report is divided into two volumes: Program Accomplishments and Technical Reports. Each section has been designed to stand on its own. Program Accomplishments encompasses all administrative, research, and outreach activities during the reporting period and includes sections on program history, personnel, financial status, administrative and management activities, abstracts of all technical experiments conducted during the past year, and non-research activities such as training, publications, and service. Technical Reports focuses on the research accomplishments of the program and contains full technical reports. (See Appendix B for the table of contents of the technical reports volume.)