A scene of a model fish farm with integrated rice and fish culture that shows animal pens built over the water in order that ducks will fertilize the ponds. Low input and low investment in aquaculture limit the productivity of farming systems. The project includes training farmers to improve productivity of farming systems through better management and appropriate technology. - - LAO/97/007. This aquaculture development project is committed to working with farmer groups. The project is designed to advise on the potential for aquaculture in the different agro-climatic areas of Laos. Aquaculture techniques include: pond culture of fish; rice-fish culture; hatchery development. The following activities, which vary between provinces, have been conducted: surveys; workshops; training of farmers groups; improvement of fish hatcheries; and evaluation of extension activities.
There are a wide variety of agro-climatic zone in Laos defined by altitude, climate soil type and rainfall. Whilst there is plentiful rain during the monsoon, the dry season is severe and rice-fish culture in many areas is limited. During the dry season, water is confined to rivers and streams; ponds and standing rainfed water bodies dry up completely. During the rainy season, river levels rise and there is often flooding in many areas. The result is that fish are able to leave the rivers and streams and forage in low-lying submerged areas. A typical example during the rainy season is rice paddy fields, which can provide abundant aquatic life, an important source of nutrition to the population.
The method of increasing the amount of fish produced from rice fields is to directly stock fish fingerlings (rice-fish culture). Other changes are also necessary to ensure increase production, such as managing water levels and providing refuge areas by raising the walls of paddy fields and digging refuge ponds or small channels. In the areas where water is abundant the fish caught from the paddy can be tra