University of Buea’s article in PLATFORM2013 describes how the Sustainable Integrated Aquaculture Development [SIAD] project uses a farming system that integrates aquaculture and agriculture, and aims to contribute to improving broad-based agricultural productivity, competitiveness and markets for Cameroon’s rural poor, through the development of sustainable integrated aquaculture capacity.
Researcher: Dr Benedicta O Oben | Lecturer, Fisheries
and Hydrobiology & Acting Coordinator CORAF/ WECARD SAID Cameroon Projects | Fisheries and Animal Production Programme Department of Zoology and Animal Physiology | University of Buea | Cameroon.
[Portrait: Vice-Chancellor Prof Nalova Lyonga]
Research in Context
“The triple purposes of teaching, research and community outreach, which most universities aspire to, are our prized goals – yet the impact of the University is hardly felt, even in Buea, Cameroon, where the University is rooted,” said Vice-Chancellor Prof. Nalova Lyonga when discussing Research Uptake at University of Buea.
“Our research impact and influence on the community is still minimal, though one must not forget the great grants that some of our staff have won in biochemistry, fisheries, mathematics, gender, linguistics, etc. We must aim higher. Our vision is to increase the volume of not just basic research but also practical, outreach projects, with the challenge of not letting one minimise the other. Hence, training and transformation of many more members of staff remain our priority goals. We must stress Research Uptake as a way to improve how we would like the University of Buea to be looked upon by its stakeholders, to improve the quality of research themes in order to address the structural difficulties of an evolving population, and to adapt solutions taken from elsewhere and invent solutions answerable to the specific challenges of our own populations. The SIAD project takes a highly participatory approach to the development and implementation of innovative aquaculture methods, which address very relevant issues of food security at the national and regional levels. Notably, the project seeks to integrate best practices from participatory local communities, a strategy that we expect will enhance uptake and sustainability.”
Actualisation of SIAD
The University of Buea, in collaboration with Njala University, Sierra Leone and University of Ibadan, Nigeria, benefitted from the CORAF/WECARD Competitive Funding for two projects for the purpose of actualisation of Sustainable Integrated Aquaculture Development (SIAD) in Sub- Saharan Africa. The SIAD system of farming integrates aquaculture with agriculture, including crops and livestock. This project is expected to contribute to rural farmers, by, amongst other outcomes, contributing to better quality food production with improved nutrient availability to rice crops, and to poultry, fish and pig farming. The innovation and technology developments are carried out in close collaboration with poor, rural fish farmers, the direct beneficiaries.
About the projects
The first project (no. 03/PA/10) is entitled “Sustainable integrated pond-based aquaculture with rice and poultry production: Economic, social and environmental assessment”. This focuses on development of viable and sustainable integrated aquaculture systems with agriculture production (rice and poultry) for poor, rural farmers.
The second project (no: 03/PA/11) is “poverty eradication and grassroots empowerment through sustainable integrated aquaculture development: Fish, rice and piggery production”. This seeks to improve food security and economic growth as a major priority for fighting poverty, especially at community level.
The way these systems integrate is that chicken and pig dung respectively are used to produce maggots, which in turn are used as an affordable, organic and high-protein feed for fish, while production of manure by the maggots is used for fertilisation of rice and pond beds.
The Integrated Aquaculture projects aim to contribute to the objective of the CORAF/WECARD Operational Plan 2008–2013 which is to sustainably improve broad-based agricultural productivity, competitiveness and markets through the delivery of four results: 1) Development of appropriate technologies and innovations; 2) Development of strategic decision-making options for policy, institutions and markets; 3) Strengthening and coordination of sub-regional agricultural research systems; and 4) Facilitating and meeting demand for agricultural knowledge from target clients.
Scope, duration and present status
Both projects are implemented in three West and Central Africa countries, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Cameroon. The projects were launched in October 2011 and are due to end in October 2014. Commencement in Cameroon (University of Buea) was in October 2012. The projects are still in their beginning stages but some intermediary outputs, which are ongoing, include:
i) the establishment of fish ponds, and a poultry and rice farm (for Project No. 03/PA/10) and the establishment of fish ponds, a piggery and a rice farm (for Project No. 03/PA/11) at the University of Buea and two community farms;
ii) the establishment of a maggotory to produce maggots to be used fish feed; and
iii) the production of manure from the maggotory for rice and pond-bed fertilisation.
Evidence base/Benefits of Research Uptake
The results of this research will provide an evidence base for its uptake and lead to benefits including: the rehabilitation and re-stocking of abandoned ponds by the end of the project life; tackling of the problem of poverty and unemployment among the poor and vulnerable, especially women and children; development of capacity in sustainable integrated aquaculture techniques; and the development of land use systems through adaptive modern technologies and traditional experience compatible to the cultural and social values of the people.
For the University of Buea, these projects have inbuilt opportunities for capacity-building, for researchers and teaching staff, for construction of research infrastructure (e.g. fish ponds, poultry and piggery) which other teaching and research staff can exploit, and for the training and teaching of students. The involvement of other Research Institutes, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) will ensure the University plays a meaningful role in its outreach mission to surrounding communities.
For the state of Cameroon, projects of this nature are of paramount importance. Fish provides at least 20% of the dietary animal protein in Cameroonian households and employs a significant proportion of our citizens. Therefore, it is expected that knowledge gained will improve the socio- economic conditions of fish farmers, create formal jobs and improve incomes in rural areas.
Policy-makers to be influenced
It is hoped that the research projects will come to the notice of the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Higher Education in Cameroon and be facilitated through them to ensure proper and prompt uptake. It is also hoped that regional and local administrators and community leaders will be influenced.
Join the Research Uptake Conversation
If this piece of evidence-based development research from SSA is of use to you, please continue the Research Uptake Conversation by contacting University of Buea.
DRUSSA Research Uptake Leader at University of Buea
Prof. Josepha Foba Ngenefeme Tendo
Professor and Head of Division of Research and Publications
Division of Research and Publications
firstname.lastname@example.org: jnfoba@ gmail.com
DRUSSA Research Uptake Champion at University of Buea
Prof. Victor Julius Ngoh
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Cooperation & Relations with the Business World
PLATFORM2013 writer / researcher at University of Buea
Dr. Benedicta O. Mbu Oben
Lecturer, Fisheries and Hydrobiology & Acting Coordinator CORAF/WECARD SAID Cameroon Projects
Fisheries and Animal Production Programme, Department of Zoology and Animal Physiology
Read this article on pages 12 and 13 of PLATFORM2013 – a print and digital publication from the DRUSSA Universities in Sub-Saharan Africa [SSA] – aimed at accessibly communicating evidence-based development research with the goal of deepening its reach and impact in the region.
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