Aquatic agricultural systems (AAS) are diverse production and livelihood systems where families cultivate a range of crops, raise livestock, farm or catch fish, gather fruits and other tree crops, and harness natural resources such as timber, reeds, and wildlife. Aquatic agricultural systems occur along freshwater floodplains, coastal deltas, and inshore marine waters, and are characterized by dependence on seasonal changes in productivity, driven by seasonal variation in rainfall, river flow, and/or coastal and marine processes.
The CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) is pursuing a Research in Development approach that emphasizes the importance of embedding research in the development context. Reflecting this emphasis the six elements of this approach are a commitment to people and place, participatory action research, gender transformative research, learning and networking, partnerships, and capacity building. It is through the careful pursuit of these six elements that we believe that the program will achieve the development outcomes we aspire to, and do so at scale.
The CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) began operations in July 2011, and a summary report on progress in the first eight months was produced in February 2012. Since that time the program has moved ahead with roll-out in focal countries, pursuing areas of science where particular innovation is needed, developing key partnerships, and establishing governance and management arrangements for the program. The present report on progress summarizes the main highlights from this work.
The CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) seeks to reduce poverty and improve food security for many small-scale fishers and farmers who are dependent on aquatic agriculture systems by partnering with local, national and international partners to achieve large-scale development impact. This study on promising practices in food security and nutrition assistance to vulnerable households in the Tonle Sap region forms part of the preliminary research that informs AAS work in the highly productive Mekong Delta and Tonle Sap Lake floodplain.
Effective partnership is central to the CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agriculture Systems (AAS). We recognize that many organizations are working to improve the lives of people living in aquatic agricultural systems, and together they spend hundreds of millions of dollars there each year.
This paper assesses factors influencing adoption of new shrimp aquaculture technologies within aquatic-agricultural farming systems in southwestern Bangladesh. The impacts of three new technologies were assessed: two Modified Traditional Technologies (MTT 1 and MTT 2) and a Closed System Technology (CST). A total of 789 farmers from 10 sub-districts in Khulna Division were surveyed randomly, including a control group of 350 farmers using traditional technologies.
Two sustainable, low-cost pond polyculture technologies have been developed to culture carps and mola in ponds, and culture carps and mola in ponds connected to rice fields. These technologies can increase total fish production from ponds. Farmers depend on carps as an income source, and mola is rich in micronutrients that can help to meet the nutritional requirements of the rural poor, particularly women and young children.
Throughout Bangladesh, there are more than 4.2 million household ponds. Regardless of their size and seasonality, whether they are isolated or connected to rice fields, each of these ponds has the potential to enhance its production with the addition of carps and mola. Mola is a micronutrient-rich small fish that is very popular, and grows well along with carps in ponds and rice fields. Carps are one of the most commonly farmed fish by small-scale farmers in Bangladesh. Carps grow to a large size and are profitable when sold at the market.
The CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) aims over the next six years, to improve the lives of 15 million poor and vulnerable people who depend upon diverse livelihood strategies in aquatic agricultural systems Taking a Research in Development (RinD) approach, this program represents a break from “business as usual” for the CGIAR. The program aims to build capacity to innovate and to foster more resilient communities and aquatic agricultural systems.
Increasing the quantity and frequency of small fish consumption can boost nutrition, health and well-being of the people of Bangladesh. Small fish are rich in micronutrients, particularly vitamin A, iron, zinc and calcium, as well as animal protein and essential fats. Small fish are highly nutritious as they are usually consumed whole. Pregnant and lactating women and young children from the age of 6 months to two years should consume small fish as they promote healthy growth and development in children and can lead to better performance at school, and at work later in life.