Studies have shown that gender norms and gender relations restrict the innovation capacity of women in aquatic agricultural systems. This article explores the converse question: in what ways do and can aquatic agricultural innovation programs, including new and improved practices, technologies and economic opportunities, affect gender norms? Much literature has revealed that the inclusion of women has advanced their economic situation, especially through increasing income.
The need to uncover, interrogate, and integrate women’s contributions to fisheries in research and development has never been clearer. As coastal and fisheries management continues to look to the Sustainable Development Goals and the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication, as frameworks and mandates, gender equity and equality have become a central concern.
Women play an important role within small-scale fishing communities in sub-Saharan Africa through engaging in fish value chain activities and contributing to household food security and income. There is, however, little empirical information about the nature of women’s engagement in small-scale fishery value chains and the outcomes of that engagement especially in Malawi, our study country.
A number of studies have highlighted the promising growth of Egyptian tilapia aquaculture and the role of genetically improved strains in this development, such as the Abbassa Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus, Linneaus, 1758). However, few studies have explored the link between aquaculture development and changes in fish demand among low-income consumers.
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.
The Aquaculture: Increasing Income, diversifying diets and empowering women in Bangladesh and Nigeria 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 development 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.
WorldFish has a project running in the north-west of Bangladesh, in Rangpur and Rajshahi Divisions and in Nigeria using aquaculture to increase income, diversify diets and empower women. The project in Bangladesh builds on earlier work undertaken by WorldFish in different parts of the country. In includes engaging with local service providers and other private sector organizations in the value chain to introduce knowledge and technologies to impact on carp poly-culture. One of the project’s goals is to increase productivity and diversity of fish production systems, including the production of micronutrient-rich small local fish.
In Nigeria WorldFish is engaged in a project using aquaculture to increase income, diversify diets and empower women. In the first 18 months, a national scoping study is being completed to better understand the role of fish, in particular aquaculture, in Nigeria. Once this study is completed there will be more clarity on just how aquaculture can assist in improving smallholder incomes, increasing dietary diversity, improving nutrition and empowering women through engagement in the fish value chain. This work will lead to an improved understanding of fish supply and demand, market trends, value chains, aquaculture systems and the role of fish in diets and nutrition in Nigeria. Once this information is analyzed, it will help WorldFish, Government agencies, the private sector, and potential donors find appropriate entry points for future investment in aquaculture to achieve long-term goals and objectives.
The 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’