Aquaculture for Food Security, Poverty Alleviation and Nutrition

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AFSPAN Final Technical Report now available!

AFSPAN Final Technical Report

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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.

Report on Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture for Food Security and Nutrition

Posted on 18/8/2014 | 1560 reads | Tags: Sustainability, Nutrition, Food security

Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture for food security and nutritionThis 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.

Aquaculture and adaptation to climate change

Posted on 30/10/2013 | 1564 reads | Tags: Better management practices, Food security, Social issues, Sustainability

Rohana Subasinghe, Senior Aquaculture Officer, FAO, talks about the risks and challenges of aquaculture in the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, and the specific situation of small-scale aqua-farmers.

Subasinghe advices to implement good management practices to avoid diseases. He points out the risks of diseases due to intensive concentrated production. Most of the fishes that we eat come from aquaculture and are produced by small-scale farmers. The challenge is to set up the required policies, regulations and institutional environment in the ACP countries to ensure aquaculture brings them a fair income, good nutrition and decent livelihoods.

This video was presented at a session on “Aquaculture nutrition: addressing the long-term sustainability of the sector” as part of the Brussels Briefing "Geography of food: reconnecting with origin in the food system" organized by CTA Brussels at the ACP Secretariat.

International Symposium on Small-scale Freshwater Aquaculture Extension, 2-5 December, Bangkok

Posted on 28/10/2013 | 1754 reads | Tags: Better management practices, Food security, Nutrition, Sustainability

World population is projected to increase drastically in the coming decades, threatening the food and nutritional security of the masses and particularly of the poor. Greater attention on agricultural resource management is essential. Among the different sources of animal protein, freshwater fish are considered to be one of the most promising commodities that can contribute significantly to food security and nutrition. Moreover, small-scale aquaculture, common in the Asia-Pacific region, provides additional benefits to rural communities including income generation, nutritional improvement, and sustainable practices through integrated farming systems.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been involved in the development of small-scale aquaculture through technical cooperation projects (TCPs) in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, which demonstrate the effectiveness of “farmer-to-farmer extension” approaches in rural aquaculture. In these TCPs, core farmers who produce fingerlings are motivated to teach grow-out to others using simple techniques so that they can acquire patronage of clients and expand market outlets. It is noteworthy that such system not only provide economic benefit to the core farmers but also enhance their social role as local leaders and/or extension workers. This approach is not totally new, especially in the agriculture sector. However, the experiences, lessons learned and findings from these JICA-implemented TCPs on small-scale aquaculture are worth sharing with other stakeholders, and as a reference for better management practices.

Coordinated efforts in aquaculture needed to meet global demand

Posted by FAO | 17/10/2013 | 1723 reads | Tags: Cooperation, Food security, Sustainability

Global partnership to find sustainable solutions ‘imperative’, FAO says

15 October 2013, Rome/St Petersburg, Russia – The creation of a global partnership to help ensure that the world’s fish supplies can keep pace with booming demand has received a green light from FAO’s Sub-Committee on Aquaculture.

Over 50 countries endorsed the Global Aquaculture Advancement Partnership (GAAP) programme, which will bring together governments, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and the private sector to find sustainable solutions to meeting the need for fish products.

Aquaculture already supplies nearly 50 percent – or nearly 63 million tonnes – of fish consumed globally, and with production from wild fish stocks levelling off, it will fall to fish farmers to supply the estimated 50 million additional tonnes required to feed the rising world population by 2030.

Full story: FAO website.

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