Implementing an Integrated Rice-Fish Farming Approach in Nigeria

7 Jul 9:00 am

Virtual (Zoom)

Registration for

Man walks next to an integrated rice-fish farming plot
A rice-fish adaptive research plot in Nigeria. Photo by Oladeji Kazeem Kareem

Watch the event recording:

Access the presentation slides:!Aj3mpt5SkILs8DDq59XfBS0aHb25?e=uTWOSB

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish and Aquaculture Africa Magazine (AAM) bring you a set of four exciting and informative webinars that will unpack important lessons from the Fish Innovation Lab's activities in Nigeria. Join global experts as they present and discuss key aspects related to the Nigerian Aquaculture Sector and provide an opportunity for questions and interaction.

In this fourth event of the series, the team working on the Aquaculture Diversification in Rural Communities activity will discuss their work with rice farmers in Nigeria to integrate fish into their farming systems.

Rice-fish farming as a farm diversification strategy is an approach to assist rural communities to transform their traditional rice-field environments into a more productive, resilient, and biologically diverse agro-ecological landscape, with efficient use of land and water resources to produce fish in addition to rice within their existing rice fields. This production system optimizes the production of two food commodities—rice and fish—in the same production area either simultaneously or on a rotational basis.

The collaboration between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the University of Ibadan, and the University of Georgia focuses on working closely with farmers in rural communities in the Nigerian states of Ebonyi and Kebbi to participate and co-learn through a series of pilot promotion trials to modify rice fields to include fish farming. The diversification process involved farmer-managed and co-learning modification of existing rice fields, and then supporting them to test and adapt these practices for the culture of fish in a cost-effective integrated rice-fish system.

Through the promotion trial process of adapting rice fields to include the culture of fish, FAO and partners have generated “entry-level” advice for farmers who generally have little or no experience with aquaculture.

In the context of improving food and nutrition security, these trials demonstrated how promoting small-scale, inexpensive integrated agriculture-aquaculture farming not only provides an immediate boost to the local supply of nutritious food but can also generate significant income. It is expected to change the attitudes of small-scale farmers towards food production and has the potential to kick-start a systemic transformation of food systems, especially in rice-producing communities.



Opening remarks: Etienne Hinrichsen, Aquaculture Africa Magazine

Introduction to the Fish Innovation Lab: Mark Lawrence, Fish Innovation Lab

Farm Diversification: A Food System Transformation Strategy: Matthias Halwart, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

The Farm Diversification Process: Adapting Rice Fields for Co-Cultivation of Rice and Fish: Emmanuel Ajani, University of Ibadan

Socioeconomic Characteristics of Rice Farmers under the Fish Innovation Lab Integrated Rice-Fish Technology Project: Amrit Bart, University of Georgia



Mark Lawrence serves as the director of the Fish Innovation Lab.  He provides leadership and direction for its programs, coordinates its activities, and serves as the primary liaison with USAID. He also serves as director of the Mississippi State University Global Center for Aquatic Food Security. Before serving in this role, Lawrence served as the associate dean for research and graduate studies at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine. He was also a professor of aquatic animal health and has been a tenure-track faculty member at the college since 1998. Lawrence earned his DVM from Texas A&M University and completed a PhD in aquatic animal health at Louisiana State University.

Matthias Halwart heads the Sustainable Aquaculture - Global & Regional Processes Team of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Division of FAO and oversees the implementation and development of its work program. He serves as technical secretary of the Sub-Committee on Aquaculture of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI), which is the only global intergovernmental body providing countries a forum for consultation and discussion on aquaculture issues and opportunities of global relevance. Over the past decades, Halwart has supported aquaculture development through many projects, mainly in Asia and Africa, and through his strategic contributions shaping the aquaculture pillar in FAO’s Strategic Framework. During his professional career, Halwart has covered a broad range of subjects predominantly in the fields of strategic organizational planning, general aquaculture development, farming systems, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, and integrated agriculture-aquaculture where he also obtained his PhD. He is the aquaculture subject editor of the journal Nature Conservation. For his dedication and commitment to participatory and non-formal education, as in farmer field schools, Halwart has been awarded the Gold Medal of the Asian Fisheries Society.

Emmanuel K. Ajani is a professor of coastal and inland wetland aquaculture development. He is from the Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management (AU Centre of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture), University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He has over 28 years’ experience in fisheries resources development, planning and policy analysis covering public/private equity investment and donor-funded projects, and academic tutoring. He has served different international and national organizations (AfDB, World Bank, FAO, etc.) in different capacities as a fishery and aquaculture expert on long- and short-term assignments. He has been involved in the training and development of manpower in aquaculture development across Africa.

Amrit Bart is an internationally recognized scientist in the field of aquaculture and aquatic sciences. He joined the University of Georgia after two decades in Thailand and Vietnam. He recently completed a two-year assignment in the National Institute of Food & Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, serving as a national program leader for aquaculture research. Aquaculture, fish reproduction, and genetics are Bart's primary research interests. A widely-published researcher, Bart is an authority on cryogenic sperm banking, the use of low-frequency ultrasound to deliver compounds into embryos and larvae. Over the course of his professional career he has developed and managed numerous high-profile research and development projects in Africa, Asia, Central & North America.


This is the final webinar in a four-part series sharing findings and lessons from Fish Innovation Lab activities in Nigeria. Click here for more details on the full series of events.