From 2008 to 2010 Dr. Madhav K. Shrestha, Chair of the Aquaculture Department at the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, Nepal, led Project Proforma. Project Proforma focused on empowering women through aquaculture and vegetable gardening in rural areas of Nepal.
Malnutrition, especially shortage of protein and vitamins, is a serious problem in rural Nepal, with various reports showing that about 90% children suffer from one or more forms of malnutrition. Employment of women in the county is also a significant issue in the country, with more than half of Nepalese women are still illiterate and have difficulty in gaining employment. This project aimed to tackle both of these issues by:
establishing an “AwF – Model Village” and two women’s fish farming groups
training women in small-scale pond fish culture
assisting in the construction of fish ponds
assisting women to earn supplemental income while working at home
increasing women’s participation in social activities
By the end of the 24 month project, the participation of women in training, other project activities and group meetings enhanced the status of women in the society, and their income was increased through fish and vegetable sales. The fish and produce produced are also valuable food sources, and aim to reduce the malnutrition levels in the country.
Chikondano Faith Chisala, reports that the “Sustainable Fish Farming Project”, proposed to provide 500 families in the Baseri village of Nepal with funding to start fish farms, recently won a grant of USD 7,500 from the Resolution Project Social Venture Challenge.
The challenge was a competition among aspiring entrepreneurs who attended the seventh annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) meeting at the US-based Arizona State University, Phoenix. Approximately 1,000 students from 300 colleges, universities and national youth organizations from 80 countries made 695 commitments to address global challenges at the 2014 CGI U meeting.
Highlights of the report include:
Within the limited project funding of US$15,290 (+Overhead), a total of 90 fish ponds were constructed in two years’ time to benefit more than 400 direct family members. Although the target was to reach 100, it is still 90% successful which is quite high.
We would like to draw your attention to an article recently published in the Oct-Dec 2011 issue of Aquaculture Asia Magazine. The article titled Peter Edwards writes on rural aquaculture: Visit to the AwF funded small-scale aquaculture project in Nepal details the visit made by Peter in November 2010, which we reported on at that time.
This 9-page article describes in text and wonderful photos the work, progress, challenges and outcomes of the project to date. We highly recommend that you take the time to read this article.
Please note that Peter Edwards volunteers his time to serve on the AwF Technical Advisory Group.
AwF volunteer, Nicolas Mazurier, visited two areas in Nepal recently to see how the AwF-funded projects were progressing and to provide feedback so that we may improve our future activities in this region. Background reports on AwF activities in Nepal can be found on our Projects page and Completed Projects page.
Nicolas observed that generally farmers were pleased with their efforts to farm fish for food and supplementary income but were being challenged by some specific issues such as pond size being too small to be commercially viable, water shortages in some areas, and predation by snakes and birds.
AwF-Nepal project manager, Dr Ram Bhujel, has created a website to provide donors, supporters, and interested members of the public with information on the project’s progress and achievements to date. Below is taken from the website’s homepage.
Welcome to AwF-Nepal
The AwF-Nepal project was initiated in March 2008 with the partial support of Aquaculture without Frontiers, UK. In the first phase (March 2008 – February 2010), the project was launched in Rainastar Village of Lamjung, which is the lowest part of the district adjacent to Gorkha. During the first phase, 70 women joined in two groups and constructed a pond each to grow fish in addition to traditionally growing vegetables and crops and raising livestock.
We at AwF are pleased to inform you that Dr Madhav Shrestha, who co-manages our AwF-Nepal project, has received an award from the Prime Minister of Nepal for his continuous dedication and contributions to Agriculture / Aquaculture Development in Nepal. Dr Shrestha was recently promoted to full Professor at the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences (IAAS), Chitwan, Nepal.
Professor Shrestha, an Alumnus of the Aquaculture and Aquatic Resources Management (AARM) program (MSc’ 92, PhD’94) at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), has served as a collaborative partner and played a critical role in launching several successful AARM projects in Nepal. The following are the major collaborative projects launched over the past decade:
In addition to these, he has been very successful in winning funding for a number of projects from national funding agencies and successfully launching them for the benefit of local communities throughout the country. He was also the key person who organized a national symposium on ‘Small-Scale Aquaculture in Nepal’ during 5-6 February 2009.
The award ceremony was held on May 17, 2011.
A recently received report on the first year of our AwF-Nepal: Phase II project states that a significant increase in fish consumption is possible from small-scale aquaculture. During the first year, per capita fish consumption rose to around 10 kg (assuming 4 members in the family), whereas the national average is less than 2 kg. Fish can play a significant role in meeting the needs of people for animal protein and results clearly show the potential of small-scale aquaculture to reduce malnutrition in poor rural families.
Good results, however, depend on good management; production can suffer if the ponds are not managed properly. It was observed that enthusiastic farmers achieved much higher yields than their less dedicated neighbours. Higher production was also achieved from ponds situated close to animal sheds from which animal urine is drained. As a result of their success, farmers are very happy and planning to add more ponds.
A report on the initiation of this project has been received from Drs. Ram Bhujel and Madhav Shretha. This can be read in full by clicking here.
We are gratified to read the words of one committed farmer, Khrishna Raj Pandey, who said – “Fish farming is 5 times more profitable than vegetable farming and at least 15 times more profitable than rice.” Consequently, he has decided to stock more fish in other plots as well. He believes that if farmers know this fact then almost all the people will adopt fish farming in the village and other areas of the country.