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Aquaculture CRSP 21st Annual Technical Report
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Institutionalize Web-based Information System for Tilapia Culture in Latin America

Tenth Work Plan, Appropriate Technology Research 2 Study / Honduras (10ATR2)
Final Report

Brahm P. Verma
Jennifer Maldonado
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
The University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia USA

Daniel Meyer
Suyapa Triminio Meyer
Agricultural Production and Science
Panamerican Agricultural School
Zamorano, Honduras

E. William Tollner
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
The University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia USA

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

Abstract

This project focuses on building a web-based information delivery system and decision-making capacity in Honduras for institutionalizing low-input-based tilapia systems for small- and medium-scale farmers.

Appropriate information for the tilapia system was identified through searches of the literature, visits to farms, interviews with decision makers and experts, and input of stakeholders. Data for Honduras and information on the tilapia system was organized to make it compatible with the navigation scheme of the proposed website. The website developed in this project (www.acuacultura.org) includes information on all aspects of production, economics, marketing, and development and extension for tilapia systems. The website also includes information about stakeholders. A discussion board is designed to hold virtual meetings and exchange indigenous knowledge and experiences.

Realizing that the Internet is not available to many small- and medium-scale farmers, we focused on training the trainers, that is, extension agents who work with farmers. From March 2001, 37 training courses provided exposure to the web-based system. Participants in five workshops had the opportunity to navigate the website. Those with some experience using the Internet were keen to use the website. We estimate that over 50% of the participants in our training courses in the last 12 months from Honduras, Nicaragua, and San Salvador regularly accessed the Internet.

We provided a three-week technical training course on designing, building and maintaining of websites. Two Zamorano staff members were given additional advanced courses on content design, databases, and database driven websites. In the last 12 months, these staff updated the database and modified the website. Many training course participants were keen on developing a consortium of stakeholders for regular information exchange through the website. Zamorano is now positioned to engage local educational institutions, agencies, farmers and non-governmental personnel to lead in this effort.

A multi-stakeholder, goal-based decision methodology was developed. In this approach, instead of thinking of what problems