Baseline: the reality of the fish farming sector

Baseline: the reality of the fish farming sector

The baseline study in the Project's five key municipalities of work (Yapacani, San Carlos, San Juan, Puerto Villarroel and Entre Rios) has characterized the current state of aquaculture (fish farming) in this area and provided information for defining strategies for the sector's development and sustainable growth. The results show that the main weaknesses are in human capital (skills and knowledge) and social capital (social resources, networks, trust, and access to institutions).

Household Livelihood Approach
“A livelihood comprises the capabilities, assets (stores, resources, claims and access) and activities required for a means of living: a livelihood is sustainable which can cope with and recover from stress and shocks, maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets, and provide sustainable livelihood opportunities for the next generation”.
Livelihoods approaches compared, DFID 1999.

With the "Household Livelihood” approach, the study documents the current state of small-scale fish farming and provides data for assessing the needs and capacity for micro-financing.

In the study area, 530 rural and indigenous families out of 8,966 are fish farmers, with a significant number of the remaining families also interested in starting this activity. However, productivity remains low. In the Tropic of Cochabamba, for example, productivity is only 0.5 kg / m², while well-managed, profitable pacu farming should be able to produce more than 0.8 kg / m². The main problems identified by producers are disease (mentioned by 29% of people), low water quality (by 22%) and poor quality of fingerlings (by 18%).

The results show that the greatest weakness is the lack of adequate skills and mechanisms to use "best fish farming practices." Deficient social capital, especially a low level of management by producer organizations, and poor coordination with state programs at the different levels - national, departmental and municipal, reduce competitiveness of the aquaculture chain.

With regard to financial capital, 72% of families raising fish have received loans in the past, at an annual interest rate of up to 25%, though averaging 13%. Loans specifically for the fish farming sector did not exist in Bolivia before 2015.

The results of the study provide important quantitative and qualitative information to inform the Project’s strategies and to make a series of recommendations for the sector:

Develop technical capacities of local extension workers and fish farming families through specialized training in fish culture and mass technological diffusion mechanisms.
Strengthen producer associations, improve their associative management and participation in public-private multi-stakeholder platforms, facilitate links with suppliers of fingerlings, feed, equipment and technology, and develop effective other services for their members.
Support participatory analysis of the economic viability of fish farms, oriented towards decision-making on access to financial resources to solve major bottlenecks and improve the profitability of fish farming.

Widen Abastoflor, CEPAC,
Verónica Hinojosa, CEPAC,

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