Malaysia, 30 November 2006 – The CGIAR WorldFish Center in Malaysia is utilizing the decision support tools within the IDRISI GIS and Image Processing software to delineate recommendation domains for aquaculture development within the particular context of alleviating poverty and improving livelihoods of small-scale farm households.
The project is being piloted at the sub-national scale in Bangladesh, Cameroon, China and Malawi with funding from GTZ. The WorldFish Center will also develop a decision support system that will allow farmers and planners without GIS skills to generate maps, query data and interpret results to support further planning.
The project is initially targeted toward public planners and policy makers. Ultimately, the decision support systems and knowledge base can be used to provide a rational basis for determining where to target aquaculture development initiatives and identify areas requiring specific interventions (e.g. provision of infrastructure and facilities.) Better decision-making will maximize use of public development funds and improve direct benefits conferred on farmers.
Assessment of aquaculture potential involves the evaluation and estimation of many factors, both biophysical and socio-economic. GIS provides the tools to integrate, model and analyze such diverse factors. IDRISI’s multi-criteria evaluation tools, in particular, are extremely useful for such objectives.
Scientist Suan Pheng Kam of Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) noted: “IDRISI has powerful spatial analytical functions. Its model builder and macro modeling modules facilitate repeated analysis for scenario exploration in a decision support environment and the simple data structure of IDRISI files facilitates development of IDRISI-independent add-on tools.” She added “It also has a relatively short learning curve given the power of spatial analysis it offers.”
Using IDRISI’s MCE module, the WorldFish Center will identify and thematically group the factors of influence, which in this case include land conditions influencing the ease of pond construction, climatic and soil conditions affecting water availability, infrastructure conditions and population demand affecting market access, and agricultural productivity affecting availability of farm by-products to be used as fish feed. These thematic groupings are separately evaluated as sub-models that produce outputs which are then combined to evaluate the overall aquaculture suitability.
Along with suitability maps, fish-yield models will be applied to estimate and determine the spatial variability of expected production in suitable areas. The aggregated estimates indicate the expected gains in production at national level if the aquaculture potential is realized.
Clark Labs and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) have recently signed an MOU to facilitate the use of the IDRISI GIS and Image Processing Software within all CGIAR international agricultural Centers.
– About CGIAR
The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) (http://www.cgiar.org) is a strategic alliance of countries, international and regional organizations, and private foundations supporting 15 international agricultural Centers that work with national agricultural research systems and civil society organizations including the private sector. The alliance mobilizes agricultural science to reduce poverty, foster human well being, promote agricultural growth and protect the environment. The CGIAR generates global public goods that are available to all.
– About Clark Labs
Clark Labs is based within the world-renowned Graduate School of Geography at Clark University and is the developer of the IDRISI Andes GIS and Image Processing software.