According to FAO (UN) data, aquaculture production has been increasing in recent years. With regard to South America, aquaculture has grown in recent years, including in Colombia and Peru. In the case of the Amazonian Trapezium, especially in Leticia, fishing predominates over the pisciculture. Aquaculture in the border region is still marginal and small-scale, despite significant advances in the cultivation of species such as paiche (or pirarucú), gamitana (or black cachama as it is called in Colombia), paco (white cachama, in Colombia), Boquichico, Sábalo and Arawana. The production is destined practically in its entirety to the local market and self-consumption.
Pisciculture development in local production systems has been considered as a tool for rural development in the border area of Perú-Colombia. It has arisen especially because of the depletion of natural resources caused by indiscriminate fishing. This situation has taken place more in Peru than in Colombia. According to an inventory carried out by PEDICP and the SINCHI Institute, 337 fish farmers, 383 fish ponds and 45.6 ha of fishponds were identified in the Amazon Trapezium zone in the Amazon region of Ramón Castilla in Peru, and the Leticia area and in Puerto Nariño in Colombia.
The degree of technical and entrepreneurial progress of the fish farmers varies. There are some already established associations, others organized in fish-farming groups and with fish-farming with a medium productivity degree and non-organized peasants with low productivity.
The aquaculture value chain differentiates the cultivation steps (precultivation-laboratory and the cultivation itself), the production and transformation process including packaging, as well as its distribution, logistics and placement on the market.
Some of the main weaknesses of the value chain in the border area include:
- the low technological level of the farms and the activity in general;
- little corporate culture (most of the farms are for subsistence or based on natural extraction);
- little professionalization of aquaculture farms; deficient technical expertise with regards to aquaculture farms and a lack of qualified staff/workforce;
- fragmentation of the aquaculture value chain;
- many illegal and illicit economic activities in the border area and a lack of legal security;
- problems related to the availability and quality of raw materials in various segments of the value chain;
- the low quality and lack of product certification and standardisation.
Europe through its regions and specific technological organisations can contribute experience to the development of the value chain, mainly though more and better R&D on aquaculture, on innovation in organisation and marketing processes, as well as on quality standards for processes and products.