In this short interview, Dr. Blake Ratner, Director General of WorldFish, explains why gender equity research is an important part of the organization’s work to strengthen livelihoods by improving fisheries and aquaculture.
For many generations, farmers in the coastal south of Bangladesh have engaged in gher farming, where an aquaculture pond is dug into a rice field and the surrounding banks are used for vegetable cultivation.
Between 27% and 39% of the global fish catch is being wasted each year, but the impact of these losses is most felt by the poor in developing countries. Froukje Kruijssen, a senior advisor at the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam and a value chain consultant to WorldFish, explains why the poor are so vulnerable to postharvest losses and what WorldFish is doing about it.
To help rural farmers access information about aquaculture, the USAID-funded Aquaculture for Income and Nutrition (AIN) project has trained fish feed and seed suppliers to become local service providers (LSP). Since 2015, over 1275 individuals have started operating as LSPs, by giving free training and consultations to local farmers in Bangladesh.
Every year during the hilsa breeding months, normally September and October, it is illegal to catch juvenile or mother hilsa, the national fish of Bangladesh. To help poor and rural fishing families comply and cope with the ban, the USAID-funded ECOFishBD project provides training and support to fishing families to farm fish in homestead ponds, grow vegetables for home consumption and form savings groups.
After the 2004 tsunami destroyed the aquaculture industry in Aceh, Indonesia, an area famous for shrimp, small-scale farmers struggled to rebuild their businesses. Now, as part of the IDH-funded Sustaining Shrimp Farming in Aceh project, WorldFish and partners are working with the Aceh Aquaculture Cooperative, formed in 2013, to establish a sustainable business model for the farming of black tiger shrimp, a premium product in foreign markets.
From 2010 to 2015, the USAID-funded Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) worked in six hubs in Bangladesh to fight food security by improving agricultural and aquaculture productivity and promoting technology innovation. This outcome video highlights the project’s successes, including higher aquaculture yields, improved farmer access to better quality seed, and greater household consumption of fish and vegetables.
A quiet revolution is happening in the ponds of shrimp farmers in Bangladesh. Since 2012, commercial shrimp farmers have increased production by 21 percent to 280 kg per hectare, the result of following better management practices (BMP) and using virus-free shrimp seed. This is part of the USAID-funded Aquaculture and Income for Nutrition project, which has trained over 50,000 commercial farmers in BMP since 2012.
In poor households in Bangladesh, women participate in aquaculture much less than men. To increase women’s involvement, the USAID-funded Aquaculture for Income and Nutrition project has introduced gill nets, which enable women to quickly and easily harvest small fish from their household pond. This has helped increase households' access to and consumption of fish.
In Timor-Leste, reef fish stocks are dwindling, increasing the pressure faced by fishing-dependent households. Inshore fish aggregating devices (FADs) are helping combat this problem, explains WorldFish Senior Scientist David Mills, by increasing oceanic fish supply and protecting vital reefs.