Fish is the most important animal-source food in Bangladesh. Approximately 60 percent of the population eats fish at least every other day, with per capita daily consumption at 44 grams for the poorest households. Fish is rich in micronutrients like vitamin A, iron, and zinc. Vitamin A is essential for childhood survival, zinc reduces stunting in children and iron is essential for brain development in children. Bangladesh has high incidence of micronutrient deficiency. The USAID-funded Aquaculture for Income and Nutrition (AIN) project aims to improve household income and nutrition and create employment opportunities through investments in aquaculture, including fish production. The AIN project focuses on 20 districts in the Barisal, Khulna and Dhaka divisions of Bangladesh, some of the poorest and most disaster prone areas in the country. The AIN project focuses on increasing aquaculture productivity through the development and dissemination of improved fish and shrimp seed, improved household and commercial aquaculture, and policy reform and institutional capacity building.
Bangladesh has chronic levels of undernutrition which most dramatically effect pregnant women and children. The project, “Fish consumption in the first 1,000 days for increased protein intake and improved nutrition,” aims to improve the nutritional status of pregnant and lactating women and infants 6-23 months of age in Bangladesh through the provision of nutritious foods products made from common, locally available ingredients. The project has two main activities: (a) production of the two fish-based food products and then provision to approximately 300 women and children for a 12 month period; and (b) development of an education and social marketing campaign to generate local awareness of and demand for nutritious fish-based food products.
Extreme poverty and food insecurity are stark facts in the lives of many people living in rural Timor–Leste, where undernutrition affects 45% of children under the age of five. Fish is rich in micronutrients and is an important part of a balanced diet. Huge potential exists to develop aquaculture as a means to provide nutrition and alternate livelihoods in Timor Leste. During this project WorldFish, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, aims to deliver priority projects identified in the Timor-Leste National Aquaculture Development Strategy Implementation Plan (ADSIP). During an earlier phase of the project, an analysis of potential aquaculture development was conducted. Additionally, capacity building was delivered to the Department of Aquaculture and other relevant institutions and recommendations were made on the policies, regulations and institutional development required for responsible development of aquaculture. Implementation of recommendations will occur during this phase of the project.
Extreme poverty and food insecurity are stark facts in the lives for many people living in rural Timor–Leste. This project aims to improve nutrition security and increase incomes for approximately 1500 farming households in six rural districts of Timor-Leste by promoting freshwater aquaculture. Additionally, the project aims to increase awareness about good nutritional practices and the importance of fish and other nutritious foods such as orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, leafy greens and legumes. The project encourages economic linkages through fish traders and input providers and, where feasible, through the inclusion of fish in school feeding programs.
In Bangladesh, pressures from population growth, acute food shortages and poverty mean that around 60% of the population suffers from undernutrition. The Expansion of Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) project brings together local partners, the International Rice Research Institute, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center and WorldFish to fight food insecurity through the creation of six regional hubs that promote technology innovation and improve agricultural and aquaculture productivity. The project aims to promote food and nutrition security through greater crop diversification. WorldFish focuses on the development small-scale pond aquaculture (fish farming) and gher agriculture.
“Before the project, we had fish only once a week and meat only once a month,” says Tasbina Begum, a mother of two from Jogahati village in Jessore district, southern Bangladesh.
“I was in poverty, but I overcame it through my own will and with the help of the project,” Komola Roy says proudly.
A mother and housewife, Komola is one of 96 women across eight communities in southern Bangladesh who helped design and implement a research project to identify the best varieties of fish and feed for local fish farming conditions.
In Bangladesh and Nepal, where the rates of undernutrition and poverty are high, the Agriculture and Nutrition Extension Project is working with small-scale farmers to increase nutrition and food security through the production of micronutrient-rich small fish and orange sweet potato.
Within the first year these men and women were able to substantially improve their income and it is anticipated that their standard of living will continue to improve.