Nutritious Ponds

Nutritious‑system pond farming in Vietnam to produce quality seafood.


The objective of the Nutritious Ponds project is to design a ‘nutritious-system’ pond concept that exploits the potential of the pond ecosystem to mineralize wastes and produce natural foods. The ‘nutritious-system’ concept stimulates microbial mediated mineralization of wastes in the pond and production of high quality natural foods. Novel nutritious-system-feeds will provide good nutrition for shrimp through the pellets while simultaneously en­hancing waste removal by natural aquatic organisms that can serve as food contributing to shrimp feeding. In addition, these feeds should be as easy in use as standard shrimp feeds while being less costly and promoting a healthy pond ecosystem reducing shrimp diseases. Realizing the ‘nutritious-system’ concept requires better under­standing of nutrient flows through the pond’s food web as a base to formulate ‘nutritious-system’ feeds. If successful, nutritious-sys­tem-feeds will lower production costs, reduce vulnerability and reduce environmental impacts. The feed-the-system will turn ponds into robust and predictable farming units, even when relying on cheaper inputs, thus making pond aquaculture more sustainable and predictable.

Partners & Funding

This innovative feed-the-system concept will be developed in collaboration between industry (Nutreco Netherlands, Skretting-Vietnam, and Viet Uc and Vemedim Animal Health in Vietnam), universities and research organizations (Wageningen University, Netherlands, Can Tho University, Vietnam and WorldFish) and farmers (represented by My Thanh and My Xuen Shrimp Association, Vietnam).  Slightly more than 50% of this five year project is funded by the GCP program of the  Netherlands Science Foundation (NWO).

Project research summary

To reach the project goals the research has three components: fundamental and applied research and interactive design of the novel feed.  Fundamen­tal research will give insight in the factors contributing to the transfer of essential ω3-PUFAs through the pond food web into fish or shrimp, and in ways to balance the algae (autotrophic) : bacteria (heterotrophic) ratio for optimal de­composition, maintenance of water quality and nutritive value of fish or fish shrimp. This research will provide recommendations for nutrient mix, and the effect on the quality of the natural food produced. Applied research with on-farm trials conducted in Bangladesh by Wageningen University and WorldFish will provide new insights on feed composition and food web interactions in semi-intensive tilapia ponds that will be used in Vietnam. 

Findings, from fundamental and applied research will be integrated in the formulation of new feeds through interactive design using on-farm trials in different farming system, from small-scale extensive to industrial intensive ponds. Because local social and institutional contexts, as well as farmers expertise and needs are key elements of new technology’s success, these findings will be shared through an Innovation Platform involving part­ners linked to the project, local extension services, private sector, a farmers’ organization and other relevant stakeholders from private and public sectors. This Innovation Platform engages stimulate multi-stakeholder discussion and reflections about technology design based on on-farm trials and applied research results  over a period of 3 years, in order to fine-tune the product design to facilitate future uptake of the technology by farmers.