Aquaculture for Food Security, Poverty Alleviation and Nutrition

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AFSPAN - video documentary of findings

Posted on 27/10/2015 | 1315 reads | Tags: Food security, Health, Nutrition, Policy, Poverty, Publications, Social issues

This short (thirteen minute) video provides an overview of the findings and outcomes of the AFSPAN Project, focusing on the role of aquaculture in food security, poverty alleviation, human health and nutrition. For more detail please download the AFSPAN Project Final Technical Report.

AFSPAN Final Technical Report now available!

AFSPAN Final Technical Report

>>> Download the AFSPAN Final Technical Report

Executive summary

The objectives of the Aquaculture for Food Security, Poverty Alleviation and Nutrition (AFSPAN) project were to strengthen the knowledge base and develop new and more rigorous methodologies of quantifying the contribution of aquaculture to combat hunger and poverty, thus providing the evidence upon which sound strategies, policies and research programs can be developed to support the sustainable expansion of aquaculture to maximise its impact on food and nutrition security and poverty alleviation.

The three-year project was implemented by eighteen partners in eleven Asian, African and South American developing and Low Income, Food Deficit Countries (LIFDCs), encompassing the spectrum of development conditions and role of aquaculture in national economies. The partnership also included EU partners and international organisations.

A theory of change was elaborated and range of analytical frameworks, economic models and indicators, complemented by surveys and case studies developed. The contribution of aquaculture to national GDP, excluding multiplier effects, was found to vary from negligible in countries with emergent aquaculture sectors up to 5% or more of national GDP in countries where the sector is very dynamic. Aquaculture was shown to have helped lower global fish prices, increasing economic access for all but the very poorest consumers. Although households engaging in aquaculture were found less likely to be poor than those that did not, poor households too benefitted from engaging in fish farming, irrespective of scale of operation. Fish consumption rates of households engaged in fish farming were typically higher than national averages.

Both immanent (e.g. economic growth) and interventionist (the implementation of policies promoting aquaculture development, improving governance and capacity) factors, as well as institutional arrangements, public-private partnerships and pioneering companies and individuals, were found to be capable of creating enabling conditions for aquaculture growth. Socio-cultural factors, especially gender and ethnicity, were also important: interventions tailored to match given specific socio-cultural contexts were most likely to lead to successful adoption and retention and delivery of equitable development outcomes, thereby producing lasting impact on livelihoods.

The volumes of seafood exported from developing to developed countries were found to approximate those of seafood imported by developing from developed countries. While expensive seafood may be being exchanged for cheaper but not necessarily less nutritious seafood, thereby minimising threats to food security, there remains a lack of supporting evidence that this is the case. With the exception of Bangladesh no policies or interventions linking fish, aquaculture and nutrition were found in study countries and little is included in nutrition education on aquatic animal foods.

Project outputs are being disseminated among the development community to help improve efficiency and coordination of development initiatives focused on aquaculture that promotes food and nutrition security and alleviates poverty and helps focus research on addressing researchable gaps. The development of science outputs has also begun.

Third AFSPAN workshop, Nairobi, Kenya

Posted on 4/9/2014 | 1794 reads | Tags: Food security, Nutrition, Policy, Poverty

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.

Fisheries and aquaculture growing in Nicaragua (Spanish)

Posted by Canal 4 Nicaragua | 4/9/2014 | 1459 reads | Tags: Nicaragua, Food security, Poverty

Is aquaculture pro-poor? Some answers from Bangladesh

Posted on 14/8/2014 | 2455 reads | Tags: Bangladesh, Food security, Nutrition, Poverty

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).

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