Reclamation of Abandoned Shrimp Ponds for Tilapia Farming based on GAP Standard in Pak Prak Village
Pak Prak Village, located in Pak Phanang District, Nakhon Si Thammarat, consists of many high-caliber talented farmers who are an important force to enhance the local economy in the village. In the past, most of them were rice farmers due to good conditions such as appropriate temperature, constant soil moisture, and so on. Later, Giant Tiger Prawn was a dominant economic animal in the South of Thailand, the farmers in the village gradually started raising the shrimp because it generated their incomes enormously by exporting to other countries. But unfortunately, those farmers lose much revenue due to price drops and diseases.
However, Agriculture or farming is still their main career. They have created partnerships among them to establish a Royal Development Study Center for raising Tilapia as a new economic animal in the village since 2005. All the abandoned ponds have been used again to raise the fish and they always have a meeting every week to discuss and exchange ideas for improving their farming practices.
Hence, in 2021, Walailak University join forces with the Nakhon Si Thammarat Provincial Fisheries Office, part of The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (Thailand), to organize a program for supporting and enhancing their farming practices to meet the GAP standard, standing for “Good Agricultural Practice”. This program aims to verify that the process of Tilapia farming reduces risks of microbial food safety hazards, including using sustainable methods.
Before conducting the program, there were several problems associated with badly managed tilapia farming in the village. The working group, thus, has provided information and knowledge on the good fishery process taking consideration on the 4 pillars of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) which are Economic Viability, Environmental Sustainability, Social Acceptability, and Food Safety and Quality. Other development approaches include:
- Developing and implementing the environmental assessment
- Reducing impacts on local ecosystems
- Good water management
- Protecting the receiving watershed from pollution
- Preventing the use of child labor or other forms of forced labor.
After doing the program for a while, the practices have been improved, and the farmers have started to realize the importance of sustainable farming, which is responsible for the environment and society. Nevertheless, many issues need to be fixed in the future, especially technologies in Field harvesting and field packing activities.
The university and the local government organization will keep improving and inventing new technologies for productivity and profitability of tilapia farming in Pak Prak Village that support the GAP standard with reduced environmental impact and use of pesticides.
Goal 14: Life Below Water
Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals