Rapidly growing demand for seafood products for domestic and export markets is driving intensification of aquaculture sectors still dominated by small-holders in much of Asia and Africa. Ensuring effective health management has become the single most important challenge for sustainable intensification of the smallholder sector just as restrictions on antibiotic use are being tightened.
Farmers are increasingly dependent on a proliferating range of prophylactic products (including pre and probiotics), often of uncertain provenance and efficacy. Furthermore, the emergent markets for these products lack appropriate regulatory frameworks and the economic burden of unjustified claims is likely to fall most heavily on small-holders.
An independent cost-benefit assessment of the efficacy, costs and benefits of such products is urgently required. Working across a range of major commodity farmed species and system types, the project will also assess the potential for novel low-cost alternatives to contribute to improved animal health and profitability of intensified smallholder operations.
The project will work in three countries: India, Bangladesh and Kenya; and on four species: shrimp, tilapia, Pangasius (catfish) and carp.
This work was funded by the Newton Fund (delivered by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Economic & Social Research Council), the Department for International Development, and the Indian Department of Biotechnology under the Newton Fund Global Research Partnership in Aquaculture programme.