Fish is especially rich in essential omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and micronutrients, including bioavailable calcium, iron and zinc. Fish features prominently in the diet of most, especially poor, Zambians. Despite this, its significance in the diet of women and children in the first 1,000 days is not well understood. Our current knowledge of the nutrient content of commonly consumed fish species in Zambia is synthesised.
The Program will achieve impact at multiple scales (household, community, province and national as well as amongst program countries) through pathways that include partnerships, knowledge sharing and learning. In Solomon Islands significant benefits will be achieved through direct engagement with partners, including communities in specific research sites in selected program hubs. Of a total population of just over half a million people, 75% of Solomon Islanders are subsistence-oriented small holder farmers and fishers.
The CGIAR Research Program (CRP) on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) led by WorldFish aims to lift millions of people out of poverty and promote positive, transformative change in aquatic agricultural development. The AAS program recognizes that gender and power inequalities between men and women, which are reinforced at all levels of society, are key factors perpetuating poverty. One of the AAS themes aims to engage men as an integral part of its gender-transformative approach to the questioning and fundamental altering of unequal power relations and structures.
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.
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.
Aquatic agricultural systems are places where fishing and farming in freshwater and/or coastal systems contribute significantly to household nutrition, food security and income. In Solomon Islands, where aquatic agricultural systems form the foundation of the rural economy, 80% of the population are rural, subsistence-oriented, smallholder farmers and fishers. Communities dependent on these aquatic agricultural systems face major challenges from rising population and declining quality and availability of marine and land resources.
The aim of the CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) is to improve livelihoods and food security by enhancing the productivity and diversity of aquatic and agricultural systems.
Livelihoods in Solomon Islands are diverse, composed of a wide range of activities. The marketing of marine resources through value chains is an important component of this livelihood portfolio in many parts of the country. Gendered analysis of marine resource value chains can identify key entry points for equitable improvement of the livelihoods of those participating in these value chains. Case studies of two Solomon Islands communities (one each from Western and Isabel Provinces) provide insight into this issue.
Increased production of mola and other small fish can be achieved through stock enhancement and sustainable management of natural wetlands. Enhanced fish production can increase consumption and provide nutritional benefits, especially for women and young children, as they suffer from high rates of malnutrition, including micronutrient deficiencies. Mola and other small fish, which are eaten whole, have high contents of vitamins and minerals. In recent years, there has been a reduction in fish production and biodiversity in wetland areas of Bangladesh.