Technology Development and its Dissemination in Aquaculture Sector

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World aquaculture production continues to grow, albeit at a slowing rate. According to the latest available statistics collected globally by FAO, world aquaculture production attained another all-time high of 90.4 million tonnes (live weight equivalent) in 2012 (US$144.4 billion), including 66.6 million tonnes of food fish (US$137.7 billion) and 23.8 million tonnes of aquatic algae (mostly seaweeds, US$6.4 billion). In this context, India is the second largest producer of fish and the second largest producer of fresh water fish in the world. Fishery plays an important role in the contribution to the rural economy and nutritional security. It has the highest contribution in agricultural GDP among all the allied fields of agriculture. But there is a severe concern gets highlighted when the per-capita fish availability is compared with its recommended level and production level is compared with the demand. A sharp gap can be identified, especially in the case of aquaculture production which demands technological interventions to meet up this gap. The latest technological developments in fisheries sector offer better prospects for all sections of rural people particularly for those who have poor land base and abundant labor force. In spite of significant advancement of fisheries sector, there is still moderate to low adoption of modern fisheries production technologies.  There is considerable evidence which suggests that non-adoption of recommended technologies is often related to non-technological factors, such as social, psychological, cultural and economic factors. These barriers can only be solved by the successful implementation of different fisheries development programs. Several studies indicated that lack of adequate planning and continual evaluation is a major reason for the failure of the development of projects and extension activities (FAO,1996).Therefore, development of sustainable technologies for Aquaculture practices and effective extension communication strategies are needed.
 
What Technology is
A technology is a design for instrumental action that reduces the uncertainty in the cause–effect relationships, involved in achieving a desired outcome. A technology usually has two components (1) a hardware aspect, consisting of the tool that embodies the technology as material or physical objects, and (2) a software aspect, consisting of the information base for the tool. For example, we often speak of (1) “ computer hardware” consisting  of semiconductor, transistors, electrical connections, and the metal frame to  protect these electronic components and (2) “ computer software,’ consisting of the coded commands, instructions, and other information aspects of this tool that allow us to use it to extend human capabilities in solving certain problems.
 
Steps in Technology Development and Transition
- Technology Assessment & Demonstration
Begin spreading awareness of the new technology by including select “early adopters” in validation and inter-calibration exercises.
- Market Assessment & Demonstration
Make arrangements with farmers/producers and begin promoting the technology to a wider audience.
- Adoption Strategy Development
Determine how to best integrate the new technology into existing practices.
- Transfer & Adoption
Proactively work to transmit knowledge and capabilities to end users.
- On-going Evaluation & Refinement
Maintain and update the technology to correct deficiencies, retain relevance, and meet new needs.
 
A brief account of Participatory Technology Development (PTD)
PTD is an approach to learning and innovation that is used in international development as part of projects and programs relating to sustainable farming practices like different aquaculture practices. The approach involves collaboration between researchers and farmers in the analysis of farming problems and testing of alternative farming practices.
In recent years, there has been growing dissatisfaction with the poor rates of adoption of aquaculture technologies in resource-poor farming systems.  This poor adoption has resulted partly because when aquaculture technologies are developed, there is little input from farmers.  Participatory Technology Development (PTD) offers a way forward, through active, decision-making involvement of farmers in every stage of technology development. When new technology is being developed, researchers usually control all steps of the process. The Participatory Technology Development (PTD) approach involves farmer’s right from the beginning when they are asked to identify their problems.
 
 
 
 
Diffusion/Dissemination of Technologies
- Diffusion of any technology occurs through a five–step decision-making process. It occurs through a series of communication channels over a period of time among the members of a similar social system.
- It is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system. It is a special type of communication, in that the message is concerned with new ideas. 
- An innovation is an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or another unit of adoption.
 
Steps in Technology Dissemination
(1) Knowledge:
A stakeholder/fish farmer is exposed to the technology’s existence and gains some understanding of how it functions. In this stage, stakeholder/fish farmer is aware of the technology but have made no judgment concerning the relevance of the technology to a problem or recognized need. Knowledge of a new technology is more likely to occur through the mass media than in late stages which are more influenced by opinion leaders.
 
(2) Persuasion:
In this stage, usually attitude formation takes place that is Stakeholder/fish farmer forms favorable or unfavorable attitudes toward the technological innovation. Stakeholder/fish farmer may mentally imagine how satisfactory new technology might be in use, i.e., “vicarious trial” of the technology in Stakeholder/fish farmer’s mind.
 
(3) Decision:
Stakeholder/fish farmer engages in activities that lead to a choice to adopt or reject the technology (i.e., adoption or rejection). Adoption can be defined as a decision to make full use of an innovation as the best course of action. This means continued use of the technology unless situational variables (lack of availability, or money etc.) prevent usage. Rejection means not to adopt an innovation.
 
(4) Implementation:
Implementation means Stakeholder/fish farmer, puts the innovation into use. Until this stage, the process is a mental exercise, but in this stage behavioral change is required. A marketing plan is the determinant of whether a good technology has been communicated effectively (i.e., actually sales). Marketing mix planned should be such that purchase is made easy. This means proper coordination of the channels of distribution with new technology and their communication process.
 
(5) Confirmation:
Stakeholder/fish farmer seeks approval/reinforcement for the innovation-decision but may reverse this decision if exposed to conflicting messages about the technology. This stage is also influenced by communication sources and Stakeholder/fish farmer evaluates their purchase experiences. After evaluating, they try to support their behavior and later decide to continue or discontinue using the technology.
-For successful dissemination of any aquaculture technology, an effective communication strategy is very much needed, which is described below-
 
Developing strategic communication programs for dissemination of technologies 
A systematic process for developing strategic communication program is presented below. The process consists of six steps that are followed in sequence to develop and implement effectively any organized communication activity for technology dissemination.
 
 
References
- FAO.(2014) Fisheries and Aquaculture topics.The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA).Topics Fact Sheets.Text by Jean- Francois Pulvenis. In: FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department [online]. Rome. Updated 19 May 2015.[Cited 1 August 2015].http://www.fao.org/fishery/sofia/en
- Rogers, E.M. and shoemaker F.F. 1992. Communication of innovation: A cross-culture approach, Fourth Edition, Collier Macmillan Publishers, London.
- Van den Ban,A.W. and Hawkins, H.S 1998. Agricultural Extension. Blackwell Science Ltd. Oxford U.K
 
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  World aquaculture production continues to grow, albeit at a slowing r
 
This article was originally published in Aquafeed (2013), Vol. 5, No.3, 41-45.
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