What is Integrated Aquaculture and Agriculture (IAA)?
IAA is the concurrent or sequential linkage between two or more farm activities of which at least one is Aquaculture. Integrated farming occurs when by-products from one subsystem becomes inputs into another subsystem resulting products. It allows recycling and maximum utilization of resources without much wastage. Thus, IAA is a means of recycling livestock and aquaculture wastes (solid and liquid) by converting them into feeds and fertilizers for aquaculture ponds and crop production, respectively.
The main objective of IAA is to increase maximize land, water and time utilisation while contributing to increased animal, crop and fish production. Normally, pond aquaculture has low conversion efficiency of fish feeds and fertilizers to fish biomass, which results in accumulation of unutilized nutrients and organic matter over a period of time. IAA facilitates effective means in recycling of on-farm wastes by utilizing these in fish and crop production. The effluents from such system would otherwise impact on the environment. IAA also serves time from having to visit different farm activities in different areas.
Layout of Integrated Aquaculture and Agriculture
A demo garden showing a luxuriously growing Amaranthus plot at the centre that was irrigated with water from a fishpond integrated with chicken. On the left is Amaranthus plot irrigated with water from a fishpond, which did not receive chicken manure. On the right is Amaranthus plot that was irrigated with tape water only without any manure.
Benefits of IAA IAA helps to enhance production from ponds and provides additional crops thus increasing household income. For example, integrating chicken and fish helps increase income through sale of fish, eggs and chicken as well as improving nutritional status through home consumption of these products. When nutrient rich water from integrated fish and chicken pond is used to irrigate horticultural crops their yields become higher and the environment remains clean. IAA creates employment, adds value to the land and has higher social capital and aesthetic value. In integrated farming, by-product of one enterprise become inputs to another and thus, optimize the use of resources and lessen pollution. In IAA, the farmer besides getting revenue from fish, which takes about six to eight months to harvest, will get additional revenue from chicken keeping and vegetables, which have a shorter life cycle.