Global demand for farmed shrimp and fish is growing. Retailers and buyers all over the world need to secure their future supply. A fast growing number of them also want to offer their customers responsibly farmed fish, to build consumers’ loyalty and mitigate reputational risks.

This creates great opportunities for responsible fish farming!

From its launch in 2013 the Farmers in Transition (FIT) Fund has initiated 19 field level projects (FLP), investing EUR 5,5 M and triggering EUR 13 M of private sector contributions in 10 countries (Belize, Brazil, China, Ecuador, Egypt, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Thailand and Vietnam). These FLPs support over 28,000 farmers and workers to implement better practices and bring a combined 250,000 MT of more responsibly farmed aquaculture products to the market.

Want to know successful improvement practices and get inspired?
Visit our Projects Gallery

How the FIT Fund can help you

  • Co-funding & other support for fish farmers to transfer to responsible practices read more
  • Formulating a business case for responsible aquaculture read more
  • Sharing knowledge and learning read more

The IDH FIT Fund provides financial and technical support to transition towards responsible farming practices of shrimp, pangasius and tilapia.

Conditions for support are twofold:

A clear plan with measurable and meaningful indicators on social and environmental impacts
Market demand for the responsible product

Tangible Sustainable Impact

The FIT Fund supports responsible fish farming, to create positive impact on three dimensions:
Help safeguard the environment through better water management, better land planning, and mangrove protection, etc… (issues may vary per region/sector)
Create better livelihoods by improving profitability through: reduction of inputs, better feed conversion rates, lower antibiotic inputs, lower risk of fish diseases, a higher product quality and access to international fish markets that offer better prices.
Improve labor conditions of workers on farms and in the processing industry.


The FIT Fund supports a wide range of sustainable fish farming projects in Ecuador, Vietnam, China, Belize, Indonesia, and Thailand. In 2016 we will expand into Africa and Lattin-America.

The FIT Fund currently improves the working conditions for over 12.000 farmers and workers, enabling the production of over 100.000 tons (live weight) responsible farmed shrimp, pangasius and tilapia.

Want to know successful improvement practices and get inspired?
Visit our Best Practices Gallery. 

Safeguarding Risks & Reputation

Seafood is one of your private label food items that poses daily risks. Apart from basic food safety concerns, such as bacteria, antibiotic residues, unsustainable farming practices and high price volatility are examples of this.

Assurance of responsible seafood production practices can mitigate most of these potential risks through compliance with international business standards for safe and sustainable seafood production.

For example: farmer training on fish health & disease prevention strategies can bring down use of antibiotics. A lower stocking rate can help prevent disease outbreaks like EMS in shrimp farming lately. Improving feed conversion ratios helps to decrease operational costs, improve fish health & welfare and contributes to the responsible use of feed on the farm. Enhanced water quality management will help to reduce water pollution and decreases the environmental nutrient loading.

All these efforts can support consumer story telling through certified responsible seafood supply chains that go back to the farm origin (e.g. ASC, GAA or Global G.A.P.) or verified seafood according to your own procurement standards..

Is responsibly produced seafood expensive?

Some responsible practices may add costs, while others, like reduced use of antibiotics, improved feed conversion ratios, help reduce costs. And, in the long run, more efficient and effective feed, health and disease management will avoid reduction of supply and price volatility.

The FIT Fund proposition  

Moreover, the FIT Fund can help reduce costs even more. We co-fund investments that your suppliers make to move towards more responsible farming practices.

We help you manage your seafood brand risks and improve your reputation by co-funding and technically supporting your suppliers in producing in a more responsible manner. 

Too good to be true?

Read our best practices gallery or watch the Pangasius video that shows how we have accelerated sustainable Pangasius production in Vietnam to 25% of total production within 1,5 years.

More information?

Please contact our retail expert:

Aldin Hilbrands 

Co-funding mechanism

Who can apply for co-funding?

cofunding FIT FUND

The joint investments of the FIT Fund and the private sector partners are used to accelerate the transitions of fish farmers towards responsible farming practices of shrimp, pangasius and tilapia.

Trading companies, processors and their supplying farms, NGOs with links to the private sector can apply for co-funding (maximum ranging from 35% to 50% ) for private investments that lead to responsible farming practices (see figure).

The FIT Fund co-funding mechanism requires that the Fund can only invest if private partners in the aquaculture supply chain (either farmers, traders, processors or retailers) are investing too.

For example when an NGO wants to apply for co-funding for a project to help fish farmers transition towards responsible practices, they need to bring in investments from a private partner, because that is the only investments that the FIT Fund can co-fund.

The Fund has a seed funding of €4 million from IDH for the coming 3 years. We expect to increase this with additional public and foundational funding to a level of €2 million/year.

Together with the private sector investments this will lead to a €10-15 million Fund in the coming years.

The Business Case

The FIT Fund co-funding mechanism requires private investments into responsible farming practices. To increase investment apatite private partners need to be aware of the market and business opportunities responsible fish farming can provide for them. That opportunities can come in two ways:

Retailers and other fish buyers investing in the responsible transition of there own supply base. A good example is that business case is the investments of European pangasius traders in their pangasius supply base in Vietnam. Seven European fish traders invested in Vietnamese pangasius farmers to comply with responsible fish farming practices. The traders envisioned that their ability to offer responsible fish to their end buyers, would create a competitive advantage.

Their investments were co-funded by the predecessor of the FIT Fund and resulted in an unprecedented fast and large scale transition of the Vietnamese pangasius industry towards responsible (ASC certified) pangasius.


apply FIT FUND


Detailed information on how the FIT Fund works and the criteria for co-funding can be found in the IDH FIT Fund Prospectus




Key requirements for applying to the FIT Fund:

  • You need to have a plan that delivers results on measurable social and environmental impact indicators in shrimp, tilapia or pangasius farming.
  • Your projects needs minimum private sector co-funding* of 65% or 50% read more
  • Your project needs a minimum production volume of 1,000 tons (annual production volume). Smaller projects with strong innovation or upscaling potential may be considered.
  • For shrimp and tilapia IDH may support EUR 30,- per ton (annual production volume live weight) for large scale farms and EUR 90,- per ton for small scale farms.
  • For pangasius IDH may support EUR 5,- per ton (annual production volume live weight) for large scale farms and EUR 10,- per ton for small scale farms.
  • Focus countries for the FIT Fund are Ecuador, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. Projects in other countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa will be considered if there is a strong potential for generating positive social and environmental impacts along the value chain.

*) other funding can be included but will fall outside the ratio, both cash and in-kind contributions can be accepted as private sector contribution

Application process

 If you comply with the above, here is how you can apply for co-funding:

  1. Fill in the application templates download
  2. Send in your application to
  3. A Project Assessment Committee (PAC) will review the quality of your application within 3 weeks and provide a recommendation to the Steering Committee (SC) of the FIT Fund.
  4. The Steering Committee will decide on approval of the application and contract the project, based on the recommendations made by the PAC.

NB: Throughout the process IDH or the PAC may provide feedback on how your application can be improved to comply with the requirements of the FIT Fund.

 For questions regarding project funding please contact Roy van


The FIT Fund supports large and small-scale producers to increase responsible production practices that results in reduced negative environmental and social impacts.

By cooperating with international and local NGOs and service providers, IDH invests in capacity building activities, better management practices, disease management, driving efficient feed conversion and increased fish survival and risk mitigation. This results in a more sustainable and profitable business case for fish farmer and reduced volatility for the industry.

Transitioning to responsible farming practices may lead to:

  • Better water management (sedimentation ponds, water filters) helps to improve the water quality of rivers and coastal areas. Furthermore filtering of water provides for collection of fish dung that in some areas can be sold as organic fertilizer on local markets;
  • Improved anti-biotic use creates a healthier fish product, improves the water quality of ponds, helps reduce risks of diseases (caused by resistance) and reduces input costs;
  • A lower feed conversion rate reduces the input of soy, fish meal and other feed ingredients, making fish farming more efficient and sustainable and will reduce input costs.
  • Use of more responsible feed will help decrease the impact op fish feed production on the environment;
  • Improved farming management practices may lead to cost reduction and better working conditions on farms and in the processing industry;
  • Responsible farming practices will reduce the risks of diseases and therefor mitigate supply risks of supply chain partners, like in the case of EMS in shrimp;
  • Improved labor condition will help to reduce turn over and will help to keep staff motivated


Sector: Aquaculture

Flavio Corsin

Director - Aquaculture, Agrochemicals, Vietnam

phone+31 (0)6 1140 4008

e-mailemail me

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