Poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment through aquaculture: an experience from Nepal

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 a farm pond in diversification of livelihoods and reducing vulnerability. A newly introduced aquaculture sub-system complemented well with the existing farming systems by virtue of increased synergistic relationships among the three sub-systems transforming traditional mixed crop-livestock farming systems to more diversified Integrated Agriculture Aquaculture (IAA) Systems. Food and nutrition security of the participating households increased as a result of 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 increased 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.


Pant, J., Shrestha, M.K., Phillips, M.J. (2013)
In: M.G. BondadReantaso & R.P. Subasinghe, eds. Enhancing the contribution of small-scale aquaculture to food security, poverty alleviation and socio-economic development, pp. 181–187. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Proceedings No. 31. Rome, FAO. 255 pp [open access]