Challenges and Opportunities for Giant Freshwater Prawn Culture through Participatory Learning and Fish Farmer Engagements
This paper provides a review of on-farm studies conducted to explore the viability of giant freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii, locally known as ulang), culture in six regions in the Philippines. We adopted a participatory action learning approach aimed at improving pond productivity through engagement of 17 small-scale fish-farmer cooperators to adopt different ulang culture systems—ulang monoculture, ulang-rice polyculture, and ulang-tilapia polyculture. This paper focuses on comparing the production and profitability of ulang monoculture and ulang-tilapia polyculture.
The cooperators were guided to follow proper protocols in pond preparation, feeding, and water management. Results showed an average survival rate of 65 percent for ulang monoculture; and 59 percent and 77 percent survival rates for ulang and tilapia in polyculture system, respectively. The major problems encountered across regions were unavailability of post-larvae; distance of post-larvae source; water availability; presence of predators; and inconsistent implementation of technical interventions by the cooperators. This paper also presents research and policy recommendations toward sustainable development of freshwater prawn culture which include establishment of a network of hatcheries and broodstock development; technology promotion and extensions services; and improving value chains and market strategy.