Rice fields to prawn farms: a blue revolution in southwest Bangladesh?

This paper examines freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) farming in southwest Bangladesh where a large number of farmers have converted their rice fields to export oriented prawn farms, locally known as gher. The gher design potentially provides good opportunities for diversified production of prawn, fish, rice and dike crops, that has brought about a 'blue revolution'. The average annual yield of prawn, fish and rice was estimated at 467, 986 and 2,257 kg ha-1, respectively. Large farmers produced higher production due to more inputs, larger farm size and longer experience of prawn farming than others. All farmers in different gher size categories (i.e., small, medium and large) made a profit, with seed and feed dominating variable costs. Despite a higher production costs per hectare, the average annual net return was higher in large farms (US$2,426), compared with medium (US$1,798) and small (US$1,420) farms. Prawn production in gher systems has been accompanied by a great deal of social and economic benefits. Most farmers associate the blue revolution with increases in income and living standards. Socioeconomic benefits of the households of prawn farmers depend on resource ownership (i.e., farm size) and are very apparent. Nevertheless, a number of significant challenges, particularly social and environmental issues, are vital in translating its benefits effectively to the thousands of rural poor.


Citation:

Ahmed, N., Allison, E.H., Muir, J.F. (2010)
Aquaculture International 18(4): 555-574
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