ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Socio economic study of farmer adoption of tilapia fish production in Aceh, Indonesia (2012-2015)

Strategic Research Area

Improving Rural Livelihoods and Environments in Developing Countries


ACIAR, $64,000

Investigators/ Researchers

Dr Joanne Millar, Dr Mike Rimmer, University of Sydney, Makassar, Dr Mardiana Fachry, Hasanuddin University, Makassar, Dr Wayne Robinson, ILWS and Mr Hasanuddin, Brackish water Aquaculture Development Centre, Banda Aceh


The research is part of a larger project, 'Socio-economic research on diversification of coastal aquaculture in Indonesia.' It is evaluating the socioeconomic benefits and constraints to Indonesian farmers diversifying their coastal aquaculture commodities. Saline tilapia fish is proving to be a viable
additional commodity to shrimp for brackish water ponds in Indonesia. Shrimp production has declined since the 1980s due to the persistence of white spot virus in pond systems. Two farmer surveys have
been carried out; 48 farmers who had been growing tilapia for less than 2 years in late 2012 and 79 farmers who had sourced fingerlings from new nurseries in 2013.

The majority (75%) of farmers were satisfied with the quality and price of tilapia seedstock. Farmers said the benefits of growing tilapia were easy to grow, low risk and more profitable than milkfish. Constraints included difficulties with adapting fingerlings to salinity, predation, water management and feed costs. The majority concluded that tilapia was better to grow than shrimp due to lack of disease and a good alternative to milkfish due to faster growth and better prices.


Survey results and summary reports were presented at project annual meetings in April 2013 and 2014. Training courses were conducted in how to engage farmers in research in 2013 and social research methods in 2014 for fisheries researchers in Aceh.


Seven tilapia nurseries have been established to facilitate fingerlings access. As a result there has been a rapid increase in farmers growing tilapia, from 30 to 100 in 3 years. Information needs identified in the survey have assisted researchers in providing relevant advice to farmers. Farmers have increased incomes and reduced risk of pond harvest failures. The training and mentoring
of fisheries scientists in social research has enabled them to carry out surveys and analysis by themselves.

Dr Joanne Millar
Charles Sturt University – Albury

March 2015