Bangladesh is rich in aquatic resources with extensive seasonal and perennial water bodies throughout the country. In the past, the expansive floodplains, oxbow lakes, beels, and haors were home to a vast range of fish species. Of the 260 fishes found in the inland waters of Bangladesh, 150 grow to a small size (maximum length of about 25 cm), and these are found in the wetlands.
Rural households who fail to gain a voice in decisions over the management of shared forests, pasturelands, wetlands and fisheries face heightened risks to their livelihoods, particularly as competition increases between existing and new user groups. Exclusion from decision-making increases vulnerability of rural households, making it more difficult for them to move out of poverty and thwarting broader efforts to achieve sustainable resource management. Poor rural women in particular often face institutionalized barriers to effective participation in resource management.
Decades of scientific research related to agriculture and natural resource management have brought limited benefits to smallholder farmers, including crop farmers, fishers, livestock keepers and other resource users. Therefore, donors, policymakers and civil society organizations (CSOs), such as farmer organizations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), are urging the formal research sector to make its work more useful to smallholder farmers.
Aquatic agricultural systems in developing countries face increasing competition from multiple stakeholders operating from local to national and regional scales over rights to access and use natural resources—land, water, wetlands, and fisheries—essential to rural livelihoods. A key implication is the need to strengthen governance to enable equitable decision-making amidst such competition, building capacities for resilience and transformations that reduce poverty.
The research-in-development (RinD) approach to agricultural research focuses on working closely with communities through multistakeholder engagement to strengthen capacities to design, plan, implement and adapt research in order to improve the lives and livelihoods of the resource-poor living in complex social-ecological systems. The approach requires researchers and implementing partners to learn new skills and build new capacities as they work in multistakeholder teams.
Aquatic agricultural systems (AAS) are places where farming and fishing in freshwater and/or coastal ecosystems contribute significantly to household income and food security. Globally, the livelihoods of many poor and vulnerable people are dependent on these systems. In recognition of the importance of AAS, the CGIAR Research Program (CRP) is undertaking a new generation of global agricultural research programs on key issues affecting global food security and rural development.
The CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (CRP AAS) was approved by the CGIAR Fund Council in July, 2011. Solomon Islands, one of five countries targeted by the program, began its rollout with a five month planning phase between August and December of 2011. Subsequent steps of the Program rollout include scoping, diagnosis and design. This report is the first to be produced during the scoping phase in Solomon Islands; it addresses the national setting and provides basic information on the context within which the AAS Program will operate.
There is increasing awareness that integrating gender into development frameworks is critical for effective implementation of development strategies. In working to alleviate rural poverty, the CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) recognizes that “business as usual” gender integration approaches will not deliver lasting and widespread improvements in agricultural productivity, poverty reduction and food security. In response, AAS operationalized a gender transformative approach.
Tropical sea cucumber mariculture has potential to become a profitable industry and contribute towards natural population replenishment. Here, we synthesise the fields of progress, current impediments and research opportunities in tropical sea cucumber aquaculture arising from recent studies and an Indo-Pacific symposium. We present novel comparisons of data from hatcheries, earthen ponds and sea pens from published and unpublished studies in various countries. Of the few tropical species to have been cultured, only the sandfish Holothuria scabra has been bred extensively.
The objective of the scoping Mission is to reate a shared understanding of the Upper Zambezi as a research hub for the Program, including 1. Main development challenges and opportunities 2. Big research questions 3. Possible target communities 4. Institutional setting 5. Existing development programs and investments