UA Magazine no. 14 - Urban Aquatic Production

This UA Magazine has been funded by PAPUSSA.

Dear Readers,
Despite the growing importance and attention given to urban agriculture, the importance and potential of growing fish and edible aquatic plants in and around cities remains largely unknown to the wider development audience. The term "urban aquaculture" captures a broad array of activities. The cultivation of fish and aquatic plants is widespread throughout many cities in Southeast Asia and to a lesser extent in Africa and Latin America. Aquatic production is intrinsically linked with the livelihoods of a significant number of the lower-income urban households. It includes a wide array of activities, from extensive to intensive cultivation of both fish and aquatic vegetables. However, the production systems involved are generally semi-intensive often utilising wastewater from the city as a source of nutrients and fertiliser for increasing production.

This issue of UA Magazine presents PAPUSSA findings in conjunction with articles on periurban aquaculture from other cities and other continents to a broader non-aquaculture audience. The PAPUSSA (Periurban Aquatic Production Systems in South-East Asia) project, aims to give an overview of the status and impact of periurban aquatic production systems in four cities (Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi). 

The overall findings thus far from the PAPUSSA project have been qualified by both the considerable differences and some similarities between the four target cities, which is summarized in the editorial. Possible scenarios for the future of these communities are described in several articles. Based on the preliminary findings presented it is concluded that the disappearance of some systems in the four cities studied is inevitable under urbanization. However, due to the huge demand for and consumption of aquatic vegetables within these cities, especially water spinach, which is produced in virtually all periurban areas often using wastewater as its main input of nutrients, can show a continuation of aquatic production in many cities. This will depend on city planners’ ability to coordinate and develop strategies for the effective separation of industrial waste effluents from domestic sewage. Other articles from Africa and Latin America illustrate the potential for the relatively small-scale production of fish on a local, community, or even household level.

You are invited to contribute to future issues of the Urban Agriculture Magazine: see the Future Issues. Articles are welcome of up to 2,500 words in length, and preferably accompanied by illustrations (digital and of good quality), references and an abstract. Despite that each issue has a focus on a selected theme we welcome contributions on any subject. Articles will be examined for selection by the editorial team consisting of the RUAF-based responsible editor and the external scientific advisor/co-editor.