Aquaculture and resilience: Women in aquaculture in Nepal

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. An adaptive research project carried out involving women members of ethnic Tharu, Darai, Bote and Gurung communities in Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts in Nepal between 2000 and 2007 evaluated the role of farm pond in diversifying livelihoods and reducing vulnerability. A newly introduced aquaculture sub-system complemented well with the existing mixed crop-livestock systems by virtue of increased synergistic relationships among the three sub-systems. Food and nutrition security of the participating households increased due primarily to a notable rise in quantity and frequency of fish consumption. In addition, household incomes were augmented through the sale of surplus fish. Development of Community Fish Production and Marketing Cooperatives exclusively owned and managed by the women themselves helped in women’s empowerment through their improved access to and control over resources and increased roles in decision-making at both household and community levels. The study strongly suggests that IAA farming households are likely to be more resilient in coping with ecological, social and economic perturbations than their counterparts practicing traditional mixed crop-livestock farming.


Citation:

Pant, J., Shrestha, M.K., Bhujel, R.C. (2012)
p. 19-24. In: Shrestha, M.K. ; Pant, J. (eds.) Small-scale aquaculture for rural livelihoods: Proceedings of the National Symposium on Small-scale Aquaculture for Increasing Resilience of Rural Livelihoods in Nepal. Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, Tribhuvan University, Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal, and The WorldFish Center, Penang, Malaysia
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