Iguana production: hope or scope?

C.H.A.M. Eilers

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Iguanas offer an opportunity to establish a balanced production system in which economically viable conditions for the smallholders can be realised together with conservation of the natural forest and production of animal protein. The objectives of this study were to analyse existing iguana production systems in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama as the basis for the design of an integrated iguana production system, taking into account various goals of stakeholders of the system, such as governments, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and farmers. The study yielded prospects and constraints for iguana farming and their implications for the system as a whole, the smallholders, the natural forest and the iguanas. To identify the problems and resolve conflicting goals among stakeholders, a soft system approach was used. Two stakeholder groups, Farmers and Organisations, discussed the production system. Organisations consisted of officials from government and NGOs. Discussions resulted in conceptual models, with which problems were identified and feasibility of possible solutions was explored. The soft systems approach proved to be adequate to identify prospects and constraints and their implications. The development of iguana production systems in Panama was compared at different phases of its development with the introduction of other new production systems of non-traditional species. The study revealed six key factors for introduction and development of new production systems. These factors could be distinguished by conditions that are needed to start a new production system: biology, support and market; and by limitations that can impede the development of new production systems: information, social conditions and legislation. Comparing key factors among production systems enabled us to explore the scope for development of production systems and their prospects and constraints. All key factors appeared negative for iguana production. In spite of the formation of farmers' associations and the exchange of information and experiences among farmers, advisors and other stakeholders, the diffusion of the production system will be constrained by lack of market opportunities for iguana products, lack of support and biological problems in iguana production.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • van Keulen, H., Promotor
  • Koops, W.J., Promotor
Award date8 Feb 2002
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789058085597
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • iguana
  • farming systems
  • animal production
  • agrosilvopastoral systems
  • marketing
  • panama
  • costa rica
  • nicaragua


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