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.