Cartoon Calendars: Vietnam

Over the years of the project’s investigations SEAT has learnt a lot about the state of the aquaculture systems in the focus countries. The project findings have been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and policy meetings have been held within the countries for law makers, private enterprises and other stakeholders. Not all the stakeholders, particularly the small-scale farmers who have been at the heart of the project, have access to these platforms and so SEAT has devised a novel way of disseminating the project’s finding to those who can make use of them.

Working in collaboration with professional, local cartoonists in Bangladesh, China and Vietnam, Worldfish has created calendars displaying key messages/lessons from the project, specific to each of the countries. These calendars are being distributed to farmers, shops and farmers clubs etc to reach the widest possible audience.

Below you can view a slide show of the images and read an outline of some of the messages featured in the Vietnamese version of these calendars, and their relevance to small scale farmers.

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When you have a disease outbreak on your farm immediately inform your neighbours and authorities to prevent a spread.

Diseases can spread from pond to pond very quickly but this could be prevented by early warnings.

Why should farmers care about this? Disease outbreaks can lead to large losses and although many diseases can be treated, a high spread of diseases are more difficult to deal with. If everyone in a community provides warning of outbreaks it can prevent the spread to other farms and minimise the losses suffered by the whole community. SEAT therefore advises, in the event of disease, farmers inform their neighbours and avoid water exchange or discharge. The farmers should also get in contact with the Aquaculture Department, Animal Health Department or the Center of Agriculture Extension as soon as possible.

Avoid health risks through proper handling of chemicals, disinfectants, probiotics, feed etc.

Farmers put their own health in risk by not using proper handling procedures.

Why should farmers care about this? Examples of the potential health risks from not following the proper procedures include damage to skin and eyes, skin allergies and food intoxication if there is chemical contact. SEAT reccomends farmers use mouth masks and gloves, and wear long sleeves when handling with chemicals. Farmers should also ensure they follow the instruction provided on the chemical package.

Make proper use of chemicals and use only those that are allowed and recommended for aquaculture.

Products produced using banned chemicals can be unsafe to eat. If farmers use banned chemicals, their products may be rejected by importing countries. Improper use of chemicals can also make them ineffective.

Why should farmers care about this? Repeated rejections of products from a single country may result in a complete ban of exports to a rejecting country/ies. This then results in a loss of business for that country’s entire sector. There are also risks to public health and the farmers may be spending too much money on chemicals that don’t work properly due to the way they are applied. Farmers should therefore ensure that they only use chemicals in the way that is recommended on the bottle.

Sludge from Pangasius aquaculture ponds is a good fertilizer for crops.

Presently sludge from Pangasius farms is removed and thrown away but it is an excellent source of nutrients.

Why should farmers care about this? Sudge is a sustainable source of fertilizer and has been proven to work in particular well in the production of chilli, corn, cabbage and longan. It is a cheaper source of fertilizer, than chemical fertilizer and has the potential for use in peri-urban agriculture. During SEAT studies, yield benefits were tested for chilli and spinach. These were found to be 50% higher than with chemical fertilizers. Therefore farmers should consider reusing Pangasius sludge as an agricultural fertiliser.

Keep used water and sludge on the farm to reduce environmental impacts.

A deterioration of water quality and loss of biodiversity in landscapes where aquaculture production takes place can result from water that contains chemical pollution and is pumped out of the farm into water bodies (rivers). The low water quality in the downstream farms leads to increased risks of diseases, loss of ecosystem services and negative impacts on other activities that occur in the affected area (eg. agriculture and fishing). The use of low quality and polluted water also results in smaller aquaculture yields.

Why should farmers care about this? All the effect, culmulatively and individually can have negative impacts on farmers’ (and others’) livelihoods and can also lead to conflicts with farmers downstream. By improving water quality farmers can achieve better yields on their own farm. Farmers have been advised not to discharge polluted water and sludge into the environment (eg. rivers and woods) and use good quality water for their aquaculture production.

Photo © Loni Hensler