For many generations, farmers in the coastal south of Bangladesh have engaged in gher farming, where an aquaculture pond is dug into a rice field and the surrounding banks are used for vegetable cultivation. Now, farmers in the north are starting to use this technology, as a result of exchange visits and training provided by the USAID-funded Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia in Bangladesh (CSISA-BD), and seeing huge increases in their rice and fish production.
Between 27% and 39% of the global fish catch is being wasted each year, but the impact of these losses is most felt by the poor in developing countries. Froukje Kruijssen, a senior advisor at the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam and a value chain consultant to WorldFish, explains why the poor are so vulnerable to postharvest losses and what WorldFish is doing about it.
To help rural farmers access information about aquaculture, the USAID-funded Aquaculture for Income and Nutrition (AIN) project has trained fish feed and seed suppliers to become local service providers (LSP). Since 2015, over 1275 individuals have started operating as LSPs, by giving free training and consultations to local farmers in Bangladesh.
Every year during the hilsa breeding months, normally September and October, it is illegal to catch juvenile or mother hilsa, the national fish of Bangladesh. To help poor and rural fishing families comply and cope with the ban, the USAID-funded ECOFishBD project provides training and support to fishing families to farm fish in homestead ponds, grow vegetables for home consumption and form savings groups.
After the 2004 tsunami destroyed the aquaculture industry in Aceh, Indonesia, an area famous for shrimp, small-scale farmers struggled to rebuild their businesses. Now, as part of the IDH-funded Sustaining Shrimp Farming in Aceh project, WorldFish and partners are working with the Aceh Aquaculture Cooperative, formed in 2013, to establish a sustainable business model for the farming of black tiger shrimp, a premium product in foreign markets.