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Integration of Rural Aquaculture into Small Scale Farming Systems in Niger Delta Region of Nigeria
In many parts of Niger Delta, farming and fishing activities are the predominant occupation of the people living in the rural areas. To improve the livelihood of the people and to enhance their economy status, there is the need to integrate aquaculture (rearing of fish in ponds) into farming systems especially for the small holders located in the rural areas. This article reviewed the necessity and the importance of integration of aquaculture into small hold farming systems, based on seasonality, availability of labour and inputs. As fish production in small holdings is generally limited by the quantity and quality of inputs to the pond. The timing of labour availability and other farm activities limit the amount of inputs farmers expend on aquaculture, hereby resulting in lower rates and yields. There is potential for improving production and yields through modification of production schedules to accommodate other farming activities. Limited material and labour inputs among farming systems enterprises can be better allocated by considering seasonal availability of inputs and adapting the pond and fish farming technology to the farming system. Focusing on technology that maximizes fish production rather than facilitation of adoption of integrated fish farming has been a common practice in small hold aquaculture ventures.