The third and final annual workshop of the AFSPAN project will be held in Nairobi, Kenya from the 9th to 11th September. The workshop will bring together partners from twenty institutions from across the globe with key expertise in research, development and dissemination to discuss the role of aquaculture in food security, poverty alleviation and nutrition.
The workshop will provide a venue for the research teams and country partners to discuss their findings and the outcomes and lessons learned from the project as a whole.
While aquaculture is often advocated as a tool for rural development, large gaps exist in the research base and many issues such as the contribution of aquaculture to human health, nutrition and micronutrients critical to child development are poorly understood. As a result, aquaculture is often overlooked as a possible development assistance intervention, or conversely, may be introduced in inappropriate circumstances.
The AFSPAN Project is the first attempt to develop comprehensive information on the direct and indirect socio-economic impacts of aquaculture in developing countries. The project’s goal has been to develop methodologies that can be applied to understand this ‘big picture’ role of aquaculture in a development context, building an inter-disciplinary framework for assessment of aquaculture across a broad range of indicators that include food security, poverty alleviation and nutrition.
The highlight of the workshop will be discussions on preparation of a synthesis and policy guidance, drawing on the multi-disciplinary research that has been conducted under the project, including case studies from eleven countries throughout Asia, Africa and South America. It is anticipated that the tools and guidance to emerge from the project will permit more effective targeting of aquaculture as a development intervention in future.
The outcomes of the workshop, research publications, tools, synthesis and policy guidance will be made available from the website in due course.
This report addresses a frequently overlooked but extremely important part of world food and nutrition security: the role and importance of fish in seeking food and nutrition security for all. Fisheries and aquaculture have often been arbitrarily separated from other parts of the food and agricultural systems in food security studies, debates and policy-making.
The report presents a synthesis of existing evidence regarding the complex pathways between fisheries and aquaculture and food and nutrition security, including the environmental, economic and social dimensions, as well as issues related to governance. It provides insights on what needs to be done to achieve sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in order to strengthen their positive impact on food and nutrition security.
The ambition of this compact yet comprehensive report is to help the international community to share and understand the wide spectrum of issues that make fisheries and aquaculture such an important part of efforts to assure food security for all.
The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) was created in 2010 to provide the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security (CFS) with evidence-based and policy-oriented analysis to underpin policy debates and policy formulation. While specific policy interventions should be based on context-specific understanding, HLPE reports provide evidence relevant to the diversity of contexts, with recommendations aiming to be useful to guide context-specific policy interventions.
The HLPE works on topics identified by the CFS. This is the seventh HLPE report to date. Past reports have covered six topics related to food security and nutrition considered by the CFS for their importance in relation to the world policy agenda, including price volatility, land tenure and international investments in agriculture, climate change, social protection, biofuels, and investment in smallholder agriculture. A report on Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems will be published this year. Work is underway for an HLPE report on water and food security to feed into CFS’s policy debates in 2015.
The Livestock and Fish research program works on meat, milk and fish by and for the poor. One of its target countries is Bangladesh where program partnerWorldFish leads work contributing to the CGIAR Research Programs on Aquatic Agricultural Systems and Livestock and Fish.
A new article by Kazi Ali Toufique from the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies and Ben Belton, a WorldFish scientist, provides proof of the long suspected link between aquaculture and poverty reduction.
By analysing changes in fish consumption in Bangladesh between 2000 and 2010, the report proves conclusively that growth in aquaculture has led to greater fish consumption among the poorest consumers in Bangladesh.
While it had previously been considered that the benefits of the growth in aquaculture were derived mainly from increased employment, the study demonstrates a stronger link to the health benefits of eating more fish.
Photo: Woman showing fish caught from her pond in Khulna, Bangladesh (image: WorldFish).
Audio and video recordings of technical presentations made at the symposium are now available for download or online viewing.
The main objective of this symposium was to provide a venue for information sharing on extension of small-scale aquaculture, specifically targeted to those individuals and relevant organisations involved in various aquaculture development projects. The symposium also assessed and presented the effectiveness of “farmer-to-farmer extension” approaches in the implementation of relevant aquaculture development projects in the region.
World population is projected to increase drastically in the coming decades which might bring about shortage of food. Freshwater fish are considered to be one of the most promising commodities that can contribute to increased food production in a sustainable manner. Common in the Asia-Pacific region, freshwater aquaculture provides diverse benefits to rural farmers including income generation, improved nutrition and sustainable livelihoods through integrated farming system.
The symposium was organised by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), NACA and the Thai Department of Fisheries for stakeholders involved in the JICA-assisted projects in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Benin and Madagascar. The symposium was also attended by representatives from other countries in Asia and Africa including Cote d’ Ivoire, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines and Zambia.