The project MYFish-Culture (MYFC) seeks to promote the sustainable growth of aquaculture in the Ayeyarwady Delta (Delta) and suitable agro-ecological areas in the Central Dry Zone (CDZ). The project will focus on these two regions as they represent two areas where there is considerable potential to innovate and scale-out different small-scale fish production systems including ponds, cage culture and rice fish-field integrated systems.
The project purpose is to promote sustainable growth of the aquaculture sector to improve income, food and nutrition security of small-scale producers and communities in the Delta and CDZ.
The Delta is by and large a fish surplus area dominated by large-scale ponds (freshwater and brackish) that are oriented towards the export market. The CDZ is by contrast a fish deficit area where fish production can only occur in the areas with access to water resource (i.e. near natural water bodies or irrigation systems). During scoping missions led by WorldFish (December 2012 and July 2013) together with DoF, Myanmar Fishery Federation (MFF) and NGOs including Network Alliance Group (NAG) in the Delta and CDZ, the potential of aquaculture to contribute to nutrition and income generation amongst the poor and vulnerable was assessed to be high in both areas. The diverse agro-ecological zones of the Delta and CDZ offer distinct livelihood and food and nutrition security opportunities and challenges to small-scale producers and communities
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An important immediate objective of MYFC is to better understand how different aquaculture investments can be sustained and how promising innovations can grow to a scale that supports growth in ways that the aquaculture sector can make significant differences to the income and nutrition of poor and vulnerable households, as observed in many neighboring countries. Currently there is little information on the extent and status of small-scale pond aquaculture. Cage-based fish culture is poorly developed with the potential to benefit producers in rivers and reservoirs not realized. Similarly integrated rice-fish culture is considerably under-developed and represents an opportunity to increase fish production and supplement rural livelihoods for the poorest in many rural floodplain areas and irrigated rice-fields. The project aims to test, learn, validate and support scaling of appropriate aquaculture technologies and production systems under different agro-ecological conditions. The diversity of the Delta and CDZ necessitates thorough diagnostics of existing investments in aquaculture and carefully tailored approaches to field test and scale out. Sites will be selected during the inception phase and promising aquaculture technologies will be identified and field testing of the new and adapted aquaculture systems will be designed. In the Delta, aquaculture systems will be selected to be tested under different salinities (inland freshwater, riverine brackish and coastal saline) and in the CDZ under various water availabilities and access characteristics (irrigated all the year round, seasonally irrigated and rainfed). Sites will be surveyed across the different administrative regions that make up the CDZ (Mandalay, Sagaing, and Magway) and Delta (Ayeyarwady) to ensure sites represent different ago-ecological systems. In addition governance, institutions and policies will be assessed as they play an important role in sustaining and adopting SSA technologies. Variations in rural development policies between the different regional governments influence SSA potential. Currently, in Mandalay, Magway and Ayeyarwady, Regional Government Policy discourages reservoir culture-based fisheries whilst in Sagaing the Regional Government has recently allowed this practice. These differences in governance will enable the project test different fish production systems and practices under differing governance practices and for the lessons learned to be shared across the project to stimulate policy dialogue and development.