Tuesday, April 11, 2017

12/04/2017: AwF: Small-scale fish farming and technical expertise to alleviate poverty further

by Michael New, OBE

As founder and patron of AwF between 2003-2015, Michael New, OBE, elaborates in this one-off column upon some of the charity’s most significant achievements in some of the world’s developing countries

Michael New

By the end of 2010, AwF had raised over US$ 180,000 directly from friends, family, colleagues, the aquaculture industry and the public. In addition, AwF had obtained access to nearly US$ 264,000 of other funds, which were used for tsunami relief work in Aceh, Indonesia and in USAID Farmer to Farmer Programmes in conjunction with the University of Arizona.

By 2012 AwF had established poverty relief projects in Bangladesh, India, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal and Thailand and conducted minor activities in many other Asian, African and Latin American countries.

Two of our most successful projects, while Nandeesha, and myself were leading AwF were in India and Nepal. The four-year Nepalese project was in two phases; in both cases AwF worked in collaboration with the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).

In the first phase, women’s groups were formed and shown how to dig and stock fishponds. Many showed exceptional enthusiasm; 40 fishponds were constructed within three to four months after a demonstration trip followed by a one-day training course.

Although ponds constructed were quite small and total production of fish was not great, the large proportion consumed by the families concerned (80 percent) indicated that it played a significant role in family nutrition.

Many new farmers joined in year two, clearly showing the scope of fish farming by women in this village. This intervention was considered very successful and served as a model for the whole mid-hills of the country. The District Agriculture Development Office took up this innovative idea and committed to support the AwF groups as well as other groups.

Similarly, other organizations also showed interest to collaborate in its expansion in Lamjung and nearby other districts. The project expanded in its second phase and trained 90 families. The overall average size of the ponds was 49 m2.

Total fish production per family ranged from 7.6 - 126kg with the overall average of 37kg. From this over half was sold.

Among the five groups, the group in Gorkha showed excellent results. Total production of this group reached to 1.9 tons in 2010 which increased to 2.8 tons in 2011 - a productivity of 14.6 and 21.2 tons/ha respectively; this demonstrated the possibility of gaining income (up to US$3.38/capita/day) sufficient to cross the poverty bench mark set by the World Bank.

Read the full article HERE.

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