In the developing world, more than 1 billion people depend on fish for most of their animal protein, and another 1 billion people depend on livestock. Poor people, especially women and children, typically eat very little meat, milk and fish. This contributes to nutrient deficiencies and poor physical and cognitive development for children and poor health and livelihood outcomes for adults.
The USAID-funded Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia in Bangladesh (CSISA-BD) project is a five-year initiative implemented through a collaboration between three CGIAR member centers, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and WorldFish. The project aims to increase household income, food security and livelihoods in impoverished and agriculturally-dependent regions of Bangladesh.
The CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) has developed its Gender Research in Development Strategy centered on a transformative approach. Translating this strategy into actual research and development practice poses a considerable challenge, as not much (documented) experience exists in the agricultural sector to draw on, and significant innovation is required. A process of transformative change requires reflecting on multiple facets and dimensions simultaneously.
The objective of the current report produced for the CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) is to provide basic information on key constraints driving poverty and vulnerability in aquatic agricultural systems in the Tonle Sap region in Cambodia. Six objectives and corresponding research themes are included in the program: sustainable increases in productivity; equitable access to markets; resilience and adaptive capacity; empowering policies and institutions; reduced gender disparity; and expanded benefits for the resource-poor.
Today, fish is recognized as a global superfood, providing nutrients and micronutrients that are essential to cognitive and physical development, especially in children, and is an important part of a healthy diet. Globally, 3 billion people rely on fish for almost 20% of their animal protein. And demand for fish is increasing. Projections suggest that we will have a 68–78 million metric ton shortfall of fish by 2030. This will be especially acute in sub-Saharan Africa, where aquaculture has yet to fully develop and where fish consumption is projected to decline.
This study is the third output of the SDC-funded “Improving Employment and Income through Development of Egyptian Aquaculture” (IEIDEAS), a three-year project being jointly implemented by the WorldFish Center and CARE International in Egypt with support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation. The aim of the study is to gather data on the retailer segment of the aquaculture value chain in Egypt, namely on the employment and market conditions of the women fish retailers in the five target governorates.
To inform the development of alternative livelihoods, the women's traditional alok fishery in the Campo-Ma'an National Park and buffer zone of southern Cameroon were studied over 15 months. Participatory rural appraisal was used to characterise livelihood strategies among 45 households. Thirty-three cultured crops, nine farmed animal species and 65 non-timber forest products, including 31 bushmeat species are cultivated in, or harvested from, the forest. Transport is a major impediment to commercial trade of all local products.
Chris Béné's article "Women and Fish-for-Sex" (FFS) is being highlighted in this issue of id21. The researchers use the example of a small-scale fishing community in the Kafue flats region of Zambia, and review other cases in the world. They demonstrate how economic impoverishment, which is often put forward to explain FFS transactions, is too simplistic to capture the complexity of the FFS phenomenon.
In Cambodia, women make up more than 65% of the adult population. They play a most important role in all spheres of social and economic activities. A recent investigation has shown that in small scale aquaculture, women have been found to contribute more than men in almost all activities. Details about this are discussed in this article.
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.