Best Management Practices for Silvo-Aquaculture

Silvo-aquaculture farmer in Bac Lieu province. Copyright GIZ.
Published: 23 July 2015
Last edited: 30 September 2020
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By promoting Best Management Practices for silvo (mangrove) aquaculture, as well as supporting Farmer Interest Groups along the Mekong Delta coast, the solution aims to raise awareness of mangrove ecosystem conservation benefits and diversify farmers’ incomes. It encourages ecological farming techniques and the integration of mangroves in shrimp ponds.


Southeast Asia
Scale of implementation
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Ecosystem services
Fisheries and aquaculture
Local actors
Tsunami/tidal wave
Ecosystem loss
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Physical resource extraction
Changes in socio-cultural context
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 14 – Life below water
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 14: Ecosystem services


Bạc Liêu, Vietnam | Mekong River Delta


Poor culturing techniques and water management, a lack of capital and mono-cultures make the farms prone to calamities and subsequent loss of profit, while at the same time having a negative impact on the surrounding ecosystems. To supplement their income, farmers therefore often collect natural resources from adjacent mangroves, causing further degradation. Additional challenges are the changing climate and extreme weather events as well as coastal erosion.


Small scale aquaculture farmers, silvo-aquaculture farmers and coastal area residents.

How do the building blocks interact?

The farmers involved in piloting the Best Management Practices for Silvo Acuaculture farming (building block 1) serve as multipliers and ground breakers. Through the formation of Farmer Interest Groups (building block 2), consisting of aquaculture farmers, a network and exchange platform is created. This in turn facilitates the successful dissemination of the Best Management Practices through trainings (building block 3) and mouth to mouth propaganda as well as revision and further development of the Best Management Practices which are regularly updated (building block 1).


An evaluation conducted in March 2014 found that the Best Management Practices had positive effects on the income diversification and production risk. In 2013, the farmers applying the Best Management Practices earned 320USD per year per hectare more than those who did not. This is explained by increased yield and reduced input cost. This was confirmed by an assessment made in 2017, which found that through the application of the Best Management Practices, the survival rate of shrimp increased by 45%. So far, the solution has had a positive impact on at least 200 farmers and their families.


The initiated Farmer Interest Groups provide active platforms for information exchange and teamwork. The documents and promoted practices spread far beyond the farmers who were directly targeted with the solution. Awareness of the importance of protective mangrove forest ecosystems increased and resource exploitation in the adjoining full protection zone decreased. A number of farmers outside the buffer zone are now also implementing the Best Management Practices and thereby contribute to increased forest cover and resilience. Moreover, some intensive farmers started to operate Silvo-Aquaculture ponds in addition to their industrial ponds. This provides them insurance in case of calamities as Silvo-Aquaculture ponds exhibit a much higher resilience.


Shrimp farming in Bac Lieu province in Vietnam developed in the 1980s and is growing rapidly in area and volume. The important role of shrimp aquaculture in the local economy is undeniable: it creates millions of jobs and income for the local population, especially in coastal areas which are difficult to use for agriculture. However, 75% of the shrimp production in the Mekong Delta in general and Bac Lieu in particular is small-scale and occurs under the application of traditional farming practices. These do not take advantage of the existing mangrove forest and are often poorly managed, leading to low efficiency in the production and low profitability or even loss while having a negative impact on the environment.


Mr. Doan Van Ua was one of the first farmers to participate in the development and piloting of the Best Management Practices. Through a series of trainings and workshops he has improved his production skills and income considerably, convincing him of the benefit of the application of the Best Management Practices. Since then he has participated actively in the Farmer Interest Group Doan Ket which he now heads, and convinced other farmers to adapt their farming practices.


Recently the application of improved shrimp post larvae selection and nursing have had a great impact on his production, as Mr. Doan Van Ua points out: "We applied it for the crop in October 2016 and achieved very good results;  the survival rate of shrimp was at 80%,  45% higher than the previous crop." And walking along the edge of his shrimp pond which is lined by mangroves Mr. Ua says: "We understand and see that, in the context of a changing climate, these mangrove forests are a 'heavenly treasure', are our livelihoods that we need to preserve, bond and grow sustainably."

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Lisa Steurer Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

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Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH