The countries and territories of the Pacific Islands face many challenges in building the three main pillars of food security: availability, access and appropriate use of nutritious food. These challenges arise from factors including rapid population growth and urbanization, shortages of arable land for farming and the availability of cheap, low-quality foods. As a result, many are now highly dependent on imported food, and the incidence of non-communicable diseases in the region is among the highest in the world.
This study addresses five research questions about the nature of aquaculture development in Bangladesh. The questions are designed to test central narratives from the literature on aquaculture, poverty and food security, and to broaden the scope of debate beyond them An integrated quantitative-qualitative survey was conducted in six communities with contrasting patterns of aquaculture development.
Farming-based rural livelihoods are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the effects of global climate change and sudden and profound changes in social and economic systems. Diversification of livelihood options is believed to be vital to maintaining ecosystem resilience and building social systems resilience. Integrated agriculture-aquaculture (IAA) farming systems, considered among the promising options for small-scale farming households in China and Vietnam, are likely be relevant in the context of mixed crop- livestock farming systems elsewhere as well.
Significant changes in our understanding of the interrelationships between aquaculture and poverty have occurred in the last decade. In particular, there is a growing realization that the impacts of aquaculture need to be assessed from a value-chain perspective rather than through a narrow production focus. In recent years, understandings of poverty and the forms, outcomes and importance of aquaculture have also shifted. Terms in current use are first clarified, including those related to scale and location of aquaculture.
Resilience thinking is an important addition to the range of frameworks and approaches that can be used to understand and manage complex social–ecological systems like small-scale fisheries. However, it is yet to lead to better environmental or development outcomes for fisheries stakeholders in terms of food security, improved livelihoods and ecological sustainability.
These “Technical Guidelines for Economic Valuation of Inland Small-scale Fisheries in Developing Countries” are one of the outputs of the project on “Food security and poverty alleviation through improved valuation and governance of river fisheries in Africa”. The guidelines draw upon research results and experience gained during the course of the project.
Over 5 years of participatory on-farm research, market access, profitability, farming systems productivity and economic sustainability were compared on 100 small-scale farms in Central Cameroon. Integration technology based on the use of agricultural by-products as fishpond inputs was the driver for intensification. Over all farms, fishpond productivity increased from 498 kg to 1609 kg fish/ha (2145 kg/ha/yr). During the project period, the number of active fish farmers increased from 15 to 192 (including 55 farms which participated only through information exchange).
In Bangladesh, only 6% of the daily food intake is animal food of which fish accounts for 50%. Rice is the mainstay, making up 60% of the daily food intake. However, many nutrients such as vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, zinc and iodine are not found in rice and have to be obtained from other sources. Small indigenous fish are a vital contribution to the diet of the rural poor in Bangladesh, where more than 30,000 children go blind every year from vitamin A deficiency and 70% of women and children are iron-deficient.
Small-scale fisheries and aquaculture have been recognized as important opportunities to enhance household food security in developing countries. While interventions aiming at promoting these activities reveal many positive effects, their direct and indirect impacts on nutritional status have not yet been fully documented. The objective of this paper is to identify more specifically the potential pathways that exist between fish-related livelihoods (small-scale fisheries, fish farming) and household nutritional security.
Commencing with a summary of the current status, importance and productivity of natural wetlands the contribution of wetland ecological functions to sustaining vital ecosystem services is then reviewed. Provisioning services, notably fish and water for irrigation or domestic and industrial purposes constitute important benefits derived by humanity from wetlands, whilst recognition is growing that supporting, regulating and cultural services supported by wetlands are critical for sustaining social-economic systems and ensuring human well-being.