Assessing and modelling farmers' decision making on integrating aquaculture into agriculture in the Mekong Delta.

R.H. Bosma, L.T. Phong, U. Kaymak, J. Berg, van den, H.M.J. Udo, M.E.F. Mensvoort, van, L.Q. Tri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Contrary to the global trend of specialization within agriculture, the rice-based Vietnamese production systems have diversified into integrated agriculture-aquaculture systems. Economic liberalization in 1986 resulted in an explosive increase in rice production and a rapid diversification. This paper describes the history and dynamics of these systems in the Mekong Delta, and the farmers' decisionmaking in this process. Subsequently, we use fuzzy logic to simulate farmers' decisions to opt for no aquaculture or one of four fish-production systems: waste-fed, pellet-fed, rice-fish, and ditch-dike, i.e., fish-fruit. In a reaction to changing market opportunities the farmers developed these systems either from the depressions left after building a homestead or after raising dikes to improve irrigation and drainage for rice and fruit trees. The decision-making was simulated in a two-level hierarchy decisiontree. The first layer handles the farmer's production preferences for rice, fruit or fish, with composed variables for land, water, labour, capital and market. The second layer simulates the choice between five options: no fish, and the four alternative fish-production systems. The model allowed a farmer to practise different aquaculture systems at the same time. The fuzzy model simulation predicted the frequency distribution of fish production systems fairly accurately, but performed poorly when classifYing individual farmers. To improve the accuracy of the simulation, additional rules can be specified and more factors considered for each product by adding a third layer to the decision-tree and replacing the composed variables with fuzzy rules.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-300
Number of pages20
JournalNjas-Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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