“Increasing fish farm profitability through aquaculture best management practice training in Egypt” (Dickson et al 2016)

Citation: Dickson, M., Nasr-Allah, A., Kenawy, D., and Kruijssen, F. “Increasing fish farm profitability through aquaculture best management practice training in Egypt”. Aquaculture, 465, pp. 172-178. DOI: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2016.09.015

Summary by: Alexandra Pounds

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

  • Big Picture: Fish farms in Egypt that adopt BMP are more profitable than those that don’t. Having BMP can increase the farm’s profitability, mostly due to better feed management practices.
  • Egyptian aquaculture is growing, but farmers had little training or education resources. Best Management Practices (BMP) training programmes were introduced to help. This survey examined whether or not implementing the BMP had resulted in greater profits and productivity.
  • While BMP are usually precursors to many certifications, farmers may see them as a burden rather than a help.
  • Aquaculture represents 77% of Egyptian fish production (mostly tilapia and mullet)
    • 85% = pond-based
    • 15% = cages, rice fields, and intensive farms
  • Key messages from BMP training:
    • reduce overall stocking rates to harvest more fish at larger sizes
    • fertilize the pond to stimulate plankton growth (an additional food source for fish)
    • reduce feed waste and use high-quality feed
  • Methods:
    • Farms that had implemented BMP were compared with farms that had not implemented BMP.
    • Data from 3715 farms were used, 70% of which were considered “high adopters” of BMP
    • An online questionnaire was distributed, and some farmers were interviewed.
  • Results:
    • BMP farms were more likely to practice mullet & tilapia polyculture rather than tilapia monoculture.
    • BMP training resulted in increased profitability, but had no effect on productivity. Average annual net profits were $15,000 greater in BMP farms than non-BMP farms.
    • BMP mostly improved feed and fertilizer management, which improved FCRs. BMP farms used less feed.
    • Operating costs were lower in BMP Farms.
    • There was no difference in total sales between BMP and non-BMP farms
    • BMP did not make a difference to total yield; however, farms with BMPs had larger average fish sizes.
    • BMP farmers were younger and had smaller families than non-BMP farmers (although this was not statistically significant). Statistically, the BMP farmer and non-BMP farmer demographics had no differences.
  • Limitations
    • There may have been some selection bias, as farmer interviews were selected based on connection with certain BMP trainers.
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