Fish is a widely available animal-source food in Bangladesh and a rich source of nutrients, yet little is known about practices related to incorporating fish into the diets of infants and young children. Our study makes use of dietary diversity data collected from households participating in a homestead aquaculture project in rural Bangladesh, a population that we hypothesized would have greater than average access to fish.
Discovered in the late 1920s, 3,4-didehydroretinol (DROL, vitamin A2) plays a significant biological role in freshwater fish. The functions of this vitamin have been investigated but to a far lesser extent than those of retinol (ROL, vitamin A1). A recent study indicating all-trans DROL has 119–127% vitamin A biological activity compared to that of all-trans ROL suggests the significance of DROL for addressing vitamin A deficiency (VAD) in comparison to ROL may be currently overlooked.
Myanmar is a country with central lowlands including a mega delta, ringed by steep rugged highlands. As the second-most important food after rice, fish is an essential component of the diet in Myanmar, where per capita fish consumption is high at over 25 kg and the preference is for freshwater fish. Domestic fish demand is growing while there is a decline in capture fisheries.
The United States Agency for International Development-Aquaculture for Income and Nutrition (USAID-AIN) project, implemented by WorldFish, emphasized technology development for improved fish strains, and capacity building in hatcheries and nurseries for wider dissemination and uptake among small- and medium-scale household and commercial producers. Improving nutritional benefits from household aquaculture investment was also an important activity of the project.
The CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems (FISH) is a new CRP that builds on earlier CRPs for Livestock and Fish (L&F) and Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) as well as prior research by WorldFish and the managing partners. Key outcomes from the two flagships of Sustainable Aquaculture and Sustaining Small-scale Fisheries during 2017, including milestones achieved, are summarized in this report.
Increased production of mola and other small fish can be achieved through stock enhancement and sustainable management of natural wetlands. Enhanced fish production can increase consumption and provide nutritional benefits, especially for women and young children, as they suffer from high rates of malnutrition, including micronutrient deficiencies. Mola and other small fish, which are eaten whole, have high contents of vitamins and minerals. In recent years, there has been a reduction in fish production and biodiversity in wetland areas of Bangladesh.
Key contributing factors to undernutrition in low-income countries, including Bangladesh, are low dietary diversity in the diets of women and low nutrient density of traditional complementary foods (CFs) for infants and young children. Several plant-based processed CFs have been developed in Bangladesh, however, all have required fortification with vitamins and minerals to achieve desired nutrient densities. There are few examples in the literature of a combined approach using animal source foods (with the exception of milk) in processed food products targeted at the first 1000 days.
Fish are an important part of Bangladeshi culture and diet. Bangladesh ranks among the top five freshwater fish producers in the world. Fish are abundant in the thousands of rivers, ponds, lakes and seasonal floodplains across the country. They are a major source of protein for people living near these waterbodies. In Bangladesh, many households depend on fish farming for their livelihood. By growing fish in homestead ponds, households have a consistent supply of nutritious fish and can sell the surplus for an income.
In many low-income countries with water resources, small fish species are important for the livelihoods, nutrition and income of the rural poor. The small size of fish favours frequent consumption by and nutrition of the rural poor, as these fish are captured, sold and bought in small quantities; used both raw and processed in traditional dishes; and are nutrient-rich. All small fish species are a rich source of animal protein, and – as they are eaten whole – have a very high content of bioavailable calcium. Some are rich in vitamin A, iron, zinc and essential fats.
Solomon Islands has a population of just over half a million people, most of whom are rural-based subsistence farmers and fishers who rely heavily on fish as their main animal-source food and for income. The nation is one of the Pacific Island Counties and Territories; future shortfalls in fish production are projected to be serious, and government policy identifies inland aquaculture development as one of the options to meet future demand for fish.