The 5th Global Science Conference on Climate-Smart Agriculture 2019

Transforming food systems under a changing climate

Agricultural development can be slow and uneven, often not reaching the people who are most vulnerable and in pockets of deep, entrenched poverty. It is further hindered by climate change, which disproportionally affects agriculture and threatens the achievement of SDG targets on food security and poverty.

Inclusive ecosystems? Women's participation in the aquatic ecosystem of Lake Malawi

Ecosystem services and their role in alleviating poverty are centered on a set of gendered social relations. The understanding of these relations between men and women in aquatic ecosystems can unveil gender-based opportunities and constraints along the value chains of the ecosystem services. A gender discourse perspective on participation of actors of an ecosystem can further facilitate the understanding of the complex and subtle ways in which gender is represented, constructed, and contested. This paper analyses the barriers to the participation of women in the fishing industry.

Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project (APART)

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.

Objectives

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).

Gendered ownership of aquaculture resources: Insights from two villages in Bangladesh

Ownership rights are crucial for increasing women’s decision-making power and empowerment outcomes, which in turn will impact household efficiency in agricultural productivity. In Bangladesh, however, there remains a large gendered gap in asset ownership. Unless we use a gendered lens to understand and address this gap, women’s ability to access, use and benefit from innovations that can enhance productivity and income to cope with shocks and fight poverty will remain a struggle.

Global conference: Seeds of Change

Theme: Gender Equality Through Agricultural Research for Development

Seeds of Change Conference is an interdisciplinary gender conference for researchers and practitioners in all fields of agriculture & fisheries (including food/commodity/cash crops, subsistence/semi-subsistence sectors, supply chains, forestry, aquaculture, and water management) which is jointly funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research and University of Canberra.

Empowering Women Fish Retailers (EWFIRE)

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).

Targets

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.

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