Resilient livelihoods and food security in coastal aquatic agricultural systems: Investing in transformational change

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.

Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems: Program summary: Solomon Islands

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.

Report on progress 2

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.

Program Partnerships

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.

Pond polyculture technologies combat micronutrient deficiencies and increase household income in Bangladesh

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.

Participatory Action Research in the CGIAR research program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems

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.

Nourishing Bangladesh with micronutrient-rich small fish

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.

Measuring gender transformative change

Agricultural research programs try to measure their contribution to a range of desired development outcomes, such as poverty reduction, food security, environmental sustainability and gender equality. This paper argues that the substantive measures (usually ‘indicators’) typically used to monitor these programs’ outcomes and impacts on gender equality are limited; they are unable to capture the full range of programmatic contributions towards the larger processes of change involved in achieving gender equality.

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