This 30th issue of the Pacific Community’s Women in Fisheries Information Bulletin includes 18 original articles on a diversity of topics, including gender and development, mud crabs, national gender analyses and mangrove management.
IDEA: Income, Diets and Empowerment through Aquaculture project aims to enhance the incomes, diets and nutrition of smallholder families. The project embeds proven technologies in Bangladesh by harnessing public and private sector products and services to increase the productivity of smallholder aquaculture systems and conducts research in Nigeria on the role and potential of aquaculture to achieve national develop goals and fill critical knowledge gaps.
The project is particularly important from a nutrition-sensitive perspective, as increasing women’s empowerment through the production of fish, a highly nutritious animal-source food, is a key pathway through which the nutrition of women, as well as their family members will improve.
The IDEA project partners closely with local and national governments, non-governmental organizations, local service providers, the private sector and development agencies.
Climate variability has a profound influence on fisheries and agriculture in South Asia. CaFFSA will innovate in the delivery of climate services to 330,000 farm households in India (Andhra Pradesh and Odisha states) and 150,000 fish farming households in Odisha and Bangladesh (Barisal, Sylhet and Khulna divisions). Timely, reliable and contextualized climate information will profoundly change the climate risk equation in sectors that underpin the food security of millions. The project will build on the existing expertise of CGIAR and partnerships with national agencies, agricultural service and credit institutions to design and deliver scalable products, with an aim to reach more than 600,000 people by 2021.
This work was implemented as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), which is carried out with support from CGIAR Fund Donors and through bilateral funding agreements. This project is led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
Although about 43% of the African continent is considered arid and water-poor, it supports the livelihoods of nearly 485 million people. This part of the continent is largely ignored as having potential for aquaculture development, but it has underground water sources (including brackish water aquifers), dams, seasonal ponds and pools from abandoned open-cast mines that all could be used for aquaculture. Furthermore, the abundant solar radiation is an inexpensive and sustainable source of energy for operating closed and open aquaculture systems and for preserving postharvest fish and fish products. Exploiting this potential requires research and development of climate-smart and efficient aquaculture technologies adaptable to water-deficient conditions. The ACliSAT project aims to improve rural livelihood and households’ resilience through aquaculture in Egypt, Ethiopia and Eriteria by sustainably increasing fish production and productivity, nutrition and income generation of fish farmers. The 3-year project will leverage improvements in pond designs and construction for efficient water use. It will also leverage improvements in feed production and feeding technology, as well as adaptation and improved culture practices of Nile Tilapia for different water and temperature conditions. Using these improvements, the project will stimulate growth in emerging and existing aquaculture sectors by sharing knowledge with fish farmers, research centers, extension agencies and service providers on aquaculture technologies and improving the engagement of women and youths in aquaculture activities.
In 2018, WorldFish Egypt launched the Empowering Women Fish Retailers (EWFIRE) Project. Funded by the European Commission (EuropeAid), the project supports vulnerable women retailers and processors to develop their businesses in five urban areas across the Sharkia governorate, lower Egypt (Zagazig, Faous, Belbeis, Al-Hussainya and Abu-Kebeer). The objective is to empower existing and new fish retailers by providing training in product development, increasing their market visibility and supporting community-based market development initiatives in Sharkia.
An interview with Gareth Johnstone, WorldFish Director General, on what we are doing to ‘think equal, build smart and innovate for change’
Zambia has a high rate of youth unemployment. There are also noticeable disparities between men and women in the labor force, especially a lack of women formally working in the fisheries sector who have received fisheries skills training. The current technical education, vocational and entrepreneurship training (TEVET) system faces several challenges, including developing skills that are relevant to the private sector.
Moreover, there are poor linkages between smallholder fish farmers and the private sector, which makes it difficult to organize smallholders and increase their participation in other aquaculture value chain activities.
It is within this context that the Aquaculture Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training for Improved Private Sector and Smallholder Skills Project in Zambia is being implemented in the provinces of Lusaka, Northern and Luapula. The project is being led by WorldFish as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems (FISH) in partnership with BluePlanet, Musika and the Natural Resources and Development College (NRDC).
The project has two components:
- Upgrading the fisheries science curriculum (long- and short-term courses) and training tools at the NRDC and developing an online training platform and internship program at the NRDC but with links to other TEVET institutions to scale the upgraded training ‘package’ over the course of the project.
- Enhancing the technical education, vocational and entrepreneurship skills of rural women, men and youth smallholder commercial fish farmers and increasing their linkages to input/output markets and entrepreneurship opportunities via private sector extension support and services delivery.
Call for applications 2020: Fisheries and Aquaculture Diploma
The Natural Resources Development College (NRDC) invites applications from all candidates interested in enrolling for the Fisheries and Aquaculture Diploma Programme under full-time or distance learning modes. The program commences on 6 Jan 2020 for distance learning and 24 Feb 2020 for full-time learning.
Grants and contracts
In the Indian state of Assam, capture fisheries and aquaculture provide livelihoods for thousands of rural households, who are directly or indirectly involved in the production and marketing of fish.
While the current average productivity in ponds is around 1,680 kg/ha/yr, beel fisheries produce less than 500 kg/ha/yr. This is far below the potential productivity as well as below the productivity achieved by other states, including Punjab, Haryana, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. In addition, the quality of fish seed produced in the state is sub-standard because of inbreeding and use of undersized broodstock. The chronic shortage of fish feed also impedes farm productivity.
The Government of Assam (GoA), through the Government of India, has received a loan of USD 200 million from the World Bank for implementation of the Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project (APART). The project development objective (PDO) is to add value and improve resilience of selected agriculture value chains, focusing on smallholder farmers and agro-entrepreneurs in targeted districts of Assam. Fish has been prioritized as one of the value chains for interventions under APART.
WorldFish will provide technical support to the Directorate of Fisheries in the implementation of the project's fisheries sub-component. In line with the PDO, the technical support aims to accomplish the following five broad objectives:
- Enable sustainable increases in aquaculture production without creating adverse socioeconomic or environmental impacts (sustainable intensification of aquaculture);
- Secure and enhance the contribution of small-scale fisheries to food security in Assam (increasing the diversity and productivity of beels);
- Increase the availability, access and consumption of nutrient-rich, safe fish, especially for women of reproductive age, infants and young children (improving fish value chains and human nutrition);
- Develop and promote climate-resilient technologies in support of sustainable aquaculture and small-scale fisheries (climate -resilient/climate-smart aquaculture technologies);
- Promote gender-transformative approaches in support of sustainable aquaculture and beel fisheries in Assam (gender-transformative approaches in aquaculture).
Global demand for seafood continues to rise, driven by population growth, higher incomes, urbanization and increasing preference for seafood protein. As capture fisheries production has reached its limits, the growth of aquaculture is critical for meeting increasing demand for fish. One of the bottlenecks constraining sustainable aquaculture development is the lack of improved strains of fish.
To date, aquaculture in developing countries is still largely based on unimproved fish strains which are genetically similar or inferior to wild counterparts. This results in aquaculture with poor growth rate, high mortality and production costs. Genetically improved seeds of fish and other aquatic species are essential for increasing productivity and improving socioeconomic performance of aquaculture production. The SPAITS project supports the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems (FISH), led by WorldFish.
As part of FISH, the sustainable aquaculture research area aims to accelerate the dissemination of improved tilapia and carp strains to smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia, while continuing research on new genetic traits in tilapia that could further benefit smallholders in developing countries. A specific project aim is to enhance the degree to which dissemination systems increase the access to and adoption of improved seed by poor women. The project will deliver research outputs and outcomes at national level in Bangladesh, Malawi and Myanmar.
The project implementation in Myanmar will gain synergies from Improving the Production, Nutrition and Market Values of Small-Scale Aquaculture in Myanmar’s Shan State and Sagaing Region (INLAND MYSAP).
Since the 1980s, aquaculture production in Egypt has grown rapidly, adding substantially to the supply of affordable fish to domestic markets. As a result, aquaculture markets have become a strategic food sector that contributes to nutrition security and sustains substantial employment opportunities for informal retailers, many of whom are women. However, the informal nature of fish retailing can result in different forms of insecurity relating to insufficient lending arrangements, risk of postharvest losses and poor returns, and threat of harassment or arrest.
Research suggests restrictive gender norms and attitudes particularly impact women’s retailing businesses, resulting in smaller enterprises, more limited diversity of species and lower value products being sold compared to men retailers.
The Empowering Women Fish Retailers (EWFIRE) project will be implemented in Sharkia, Lower Egypt. Through its interventions, the project will test different value chain development strategies for improving women’s economic empowerment (defined as employment generation and improved profitability).
EWFIRE will deliver on its main targets of economic empowerment of women fish retailers through seven outcomes. These relate to the improved capacity of women beneficiaries regarding their social capital (group membership, legitimacy, bargaining power, market linkages); physical resources (processing centers, equipment); financial resources (village savings and loan associations, formal credit markets); human resources (technical training, business development skills, market information and online resources); and the establishment of new product lines and sustainable business models.
The project will deliver on these targets through five activity work plans. These relate to supporting development of women-led retailer collectives; establishing/equipping five fish processing centers; delivering training on conflict resolution, entrepreneurship and marketing; developing sustainable business models; and strengthening market relations of women retailers.
The project aims to generate full-time employment for 300 women through the establishment of 50 new women-led enterprises and improve the profitability of 100 existing women retailers.