Since USSEC introduced In Pond Raceway System (IPRS) technology to Vietnamese farmers in Can Tho City in August 2015, additional efforts have been made to help share IPRS lessons in the country, including organizing tour trips to IPRS sites in Shanghai, China and inviting USSEC consultant Dr. Jesse Chappel, IPRS Lead Developer and Extension Specialist at Auburn University, to give introductory seminars to farmers and government officers in Northern Vietnam from 2016 to 2018.
Feedback from the Vietnamese aquaculture industry has been very positive. The first IPRS adopter was Ms. Vu Thi Tham in Hưng Yên province who constructed her one-cell raceway in November 2016 with WWU, but without a waste collector and with no USSEC technical advice. She learned the principle from an introductory USSEC IPRS seminar and constructed it herself. While it was not compliant with USSEC’s standard, her work attracted many fish farmers in her location to come to learn.
To date, more than 150 IPRS have been constructed by fresh water fish farms in Northern Vietnam, especially in the Hưng Yên, Hai Duong, Ha Nam, and Bac Giang provinces. However, almost all of them are “IPRS-like” with different technical mistakes, since farmers learned from each other with no formal technical advice from USSEC.
In 2017, the first Gold Standard IPRS version 1 was constructed at Xuyên Việt company farm facilities. This demonstration was funded by Missouri Soybean and in association with USSEC through the construction of a “gold standard” or optimized IPRS demonstration system, along with the creation of training videos for the construction of these systems to provide high impact examples to industry. The construction was considered as the most correct IPRS in Vietnam, according to USSEC technical requirements.
Recently, in collaboration with Progressus, USSEC conducted a short course training on IPRS to Southeast Asian countries. This marked the first time USSEC worked to formalize and conduct a training of the IPRS Fixed Raceway Standard (now in v2.0) to the industry.
The short course proved to be advantageous for USSEC to share IPRS experiences in Vietnam. Many lessons, which were expensive for the farmers who made technical mistakes, were learned and shared.
The course also provided an opportunity to learn from Manit Farm in Thailand, which is a good example for other IPRS adopters. All sophisticated equipment such as WWU and a waste collector were imported from Mr. Tiger Ge in China, a supplier of IPRS equipment with seven years of experience with IPRS. Purchasing equipment from a qualified supplier will prevent problems with regards to use and longevity. Proper design is critical to success and improper designs will lead to economic losses or even failure.
The training demonstrated the benefits of IPRS technology with high quality soy-based feed. Vietnamese fish farmers can realize the value of U.S. soy products and IPRS technology could help them to cope with restrictions from International Certification in terms of sustainability.