The promotion of small-scale fish farming in Africa has had only limited success. Although on many occasions there is apparently no difficulty in getting people to dig ponds, subsequent management and maintenance tend to be poor and ponds are often abandoned. Because of the legacy of past development interventions, many farmers dig fish ponds in anticipation of benefit or to associate themselves with a \"culture of development\" rather than because of any known merit in the technology itself. The article argues that part of the problem lies in the approach to farmer motivation taken by development projects. Three assumptions are unfounded: that all members of fish farming households are equal; that the decision making process of farmers is an informed weighing of costs, benefits and risk; and that the production of fish is the most important outcome. The article is based on research conducted in Luapula Province, Zambia in association with an FAO-supported project with fish farmers in the province.
Harrison, E. Digging Fish Ponds: Perspectives on Motivation in Luapula Province, Zambia. Human Organization (1996) 55 (3) 270-278.