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Cooperatively Managed Rural Panamanian Fish Ponds:
The Integrated Approach


Lovshin, L., N. Schwartz, V. de Castillo, C. Engle, and U. Hatch

Date: 1986

Funding Agency: USAID

Keywords: panama, aquaculture, development, international

Category: International Country Report

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The economics of agro-aquaculture
systems is complex. Sufficient

data do not exist
to draw a firm conclusion on the projects. One or

two years of
production data are highly subject to vagaries of the

weather, learning curves,
and political events. The data from this

project, however,
do provide some important indications.

Of the animal
protein alternatives considered, four of the five

Least-cost sources
involved fish production. Values ranged from B/

0.14 to B/ 0.
25 per pound for the three least-cost fish alternatives to

B/ 1.75 per pound
for duck meat. Integration of fish production

with other types of
livestock production consistently lowered the

cost per pound of
animal protein produced. In the case of hogs, for

example, pork production
alone had a production cost of B/ 0.
98 per

pound but when fish
were integrated with hogs, the cost dropped to

B/ 0.74 per pound.

The budget analyses indicate that integrated systems in impoverished rural areas are
economically viable for the farmer. The

alternative yielded highest net returns. Integration of

fish culture with other
livestock enterprises increased net returns in

every instance.

The rates of return
for the fish-chicken, fish-hog, and fish-duck

analyzing the fish enterprise in isolation, are

the 12 percent
cutoff rate established as the opportunity cost of capital

by the Planning
Ministry in Panama.

Project data serve
to provide guidelines for expansion of agro-aquaculture in Panama. All of the
combinations are profitable, yet

some combinations
will be more profitable under certain conditions

than under others.

Benefits following
from the irrigated gardens (for which data were

not available) are
not included in this analysis and have the potential

of greatly
improving the efficiency and profitability of the integrated

approach. Within
the water supply developed for the animal and agriculture

enterprises, irrigated
gardens can be added at a minimal

expense. This
additional use of the facility will also improve the efficiency

and profitability
of the fish culture component because

some portion of the fixed costs would be
allocated to the garden.

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