Rice and fish are key elements of the diet and major agricultural production sectors in Myanmar. Rice-fish systems (RFSs) encompass a spectrum of farming and fishing practices, from traditional capture of fish in rice-dominated landscapes through to controlled farming of fish in rice fields. Rice farming covers approximately 8 million ha and involves more than 5 million rural households. Myanmar governments of the recent past favored “command and control” based policies that discouraged rice farmers from diversification and making production decisions based on market demand. Such policies have constrained crop- and land-use diversity, as well as opportunities for poverty reduction. Recent policy shifts are now presenting a window of opportunity for developing and implementing diversified and productive rice-fish systems. Such developments would contribute to overarching policy goals of the government for poverty reduction, addressing under-nutrition and rural development. The overall aim of the project is to improve the productivity and profitability of rice-fish systems in Myanmar. The project will benefit small-scale rice farming households, and fishers, by diversifying production in rice-based farming systems and landscapes, enhancing resilience of rice-based farming systems and delivering increased farmer incomes, improved food and nutrition security and enhanced gender equity.
Editorial: Focuses on the gender dimensions of fisheries which provide rich ground for perspectives on development policy and community based strategies for livelihoods, gender and social justice.
Empowering women and men fishers, processors and traders
In 2014, women accounted for about 50 percent of the workforce in fisheries and aquaculture, when the secondary elements such as processing and trading are included. This reliance is significant given that the sectors support the livelihoods of approximately 10–12 percent of the world’s population and are central to global food and nutrition security.
Fishing is often seen as a man’s domain, meaning in developing countries that women’s contributions often go unseen and women are excluded from decisions on small-scale fisheries governance. Dr Pip Cohen, Program Leader of the Resilient Small-Scale Fisheries Research Program at WorldFish, explains how WorldFish works to overcome these barriers.
In Egypt, the fish retail sector provides around 14,000 full-time jobs, of which informal women retailers play a dominant role in supplying low-value fish products to low-income consumers. But for women retailers in Egypt, who sell their fish from metal trays in the market or on unshaded street corners in urban and rural environments, it’s a hard way to make a living.
Chuma and Sifuba’s story features in one of the seven real-life video case studies that are part of the Moving Forward Together guide, produced by WorldFish and Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs.
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.
Fishing communities are joining together and generating alternative incomes, which is helping rejuvenate fragile stocks of hilsa, the national fish of Bangladesh
Hilsa once flourished in the rivers of Bangladesh. But threatened by overfishing, pollution and destroyed habitats, stocks declined.
To protect and rejuvenate hilsa stocks, in 2011 the government introduced a ban on catching juvenile and mother hilsa during the breeding months, normally September or October.