Case study of innovations in commercial West African family fish farming that led to an ecological intensification
APDRA Pisciculture paysanne,
9 avenue de France,
2 CIRAD, Avenue Agropolis, 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
3 ISTOM, ADI-Suds, 4 Rue Joseph Lakanal, 49000 Angers, France
* Corresponding authors: firstname.lastname@example.org
Handling Editor: Joel Aubin
Accepted: 30 March 2022
Original fish-farming developments occur in west-central and south-western Côte d’Ivoire and in the forest area of the Republic of Guinea. Oreochromis niloticus and Heterotis niloticus are the main species produced in dam ponds with little or no feeding. Flooded rice is often grown here. The products supply local markets. In this article, we seek to understand the innovation trajectories that have led to three practices characteristic of these systems: ‘large tilapia production with little feed in dam ponds’, ‘tilapia and Heterotis polyculture’ and ‘flooded rice cultivation in ponds’. We then assess the contribution of these innovations to ecological intensification. The practices that form the basis for current developments were developed in the 1990s on family farms. The suitability of technical choices at certain key moments depended entirely on the fish farmers who judged the tested techniques on their own terms. Our assessment shows that these farmers have contributed positively to ecological intensification. They suffer from recurrent cash flow problems and have thus natural resources and ecological functions in their fish farming system: stocking density to make the best use of the natural trophic resources, improved by polyculture and additional rice production that is more efficient than traditional lowland rice production. The promotion of reliance on existing know-how and anchoring in local culture strengthen the contribution to these systems’ ecological intensification. The analysis shows that this development of integrated commercial fish farming in family farms questions ecological intensification and innovation in aquaculture.
Key words: Ecological intensification / Oreochromis niloticus / Heterotis niloticus / flooded rice / innovation / small-scale fish farming / dam pond / Côte d’Ivoire / Guinea
© D. Lethimonnier et al., Published by EDP Sciences 2022
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.