Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food production sectors in the world and an attractive option for improving livelihood security, especially in developing countries. Yet as aquaculture assumes greater significance as a means to meet global food and nutrition demands, concerns about the environmental impacts of aquaculture systems are on the rise.
In Myanmar, the fast-growing aquaculture sector has huge potential to improve the lives of rural households, which make up 70 percent of the population and depend largely on low-yielding agriculture for their livelihoods (FAO 2015).
In Myanmar, fish is an important part of the diet.
MYNutrition aims to adapt and scale up the innovative integrated aquaculture and fisheries/agriculture-nutrition linkages developed under the IFAD-funded Small Fish and Nutrition project in northwest rural Myanmar from 2010 to 2013. The project will engage men and women in the homestead production of traditional carp and micronutrient-rich small fish species and vegetables, and increase production of indigenous fish (mostly small-sized) through community-based sustainable wetlands management and enhanced stocking. MYNutrition works to increase awareness and capacity of government and partner NGO staff in nutrition-sensitive agricultural interventions and research, building on the efforts of the MYCulture and MYFish projects.
The MYFC project aims to introduce low cost polyculture systems with small indigenous species of fish to increase incomes, food security and nutrition for the resource-poor, focusing on women and children. WorldFish will work with four government and NGO partners to build technical capacity through the Fisheries Research and Development Network. The project will target four townships in Ayeyarwady Delta and four townships in the central dry zone. By the end of the project, 5,000 households will be directly engaged in fish production and a further 5,000 households will indirectly benefit through access to knowledge, learning and sharing.
Hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha) is an valuable resource for millions of people in the Bay of Bengal, but its breeding and migratory habits remain largely unknown. Identifying the breeding sites and main inland migration routes of hilsa is important for management and the sustainability of the resource. The project fills a knowledge gap about hilsa and undertakes the identification of the main spawning grounds in the Ayeyarwady Delta and determines the extent of its migration along the Ayeyarwady River. This project aims to build a knowledge base from which a strategy to sustainably manage the hilsa resource can be developed. The project will gather local knowledge about fish migrations and breeding sites and will collaborate with local government and NGOs to research the livelihoods of hilsa-dependent fishers and undertake a value chain assessment of the species.
Food systems in Myanmar have the potential to be highly productive and support the demands of a growing population. This project aims to promote agricultural productivity and nutrition and to enhance livelihoods through an improved policy environment. New policies that enhance agricultural productivity and efficiency in Myanmar are hampered by a lack of research into the country’s food system. This project aims to generate and disseminate knowledge on targeted policy issues for which hard data is weak, and to use this new information to influence agriculture policy and promote reforms to increase private sector investments in the agricultural sector. It will also foster fair and sustainable policies to improve the circumstances of the country’s rural poor through greater productivity, better market access, increased investment, resilient livelihoods and increased food supply.
The fisheries sector in Myanmar is vital for national food security, income generation and export earnings. It is estimated that aquaculture and fisheries directly employ more than 3 million people and that between 12 and 15 million people benefit from the sector. Fish products are the most important sources of animal protein in the country. Fisheries development in Myanmar faces three constraints: the lack of a comprehensive information base on fisheries, the lack of proven management approaches and technologies and the limited technical capacity to implement fisheries projects. The MYFish project aims to improve the management capacity of Myanmar’s inland aquaculture and fisheries and facilitate the emergence of co-management of fisheries and small-scale aquaculture as cornerstones of rural food security and livelihoods.