AwF-Nepal Phase II project showing positive results

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AwF-Nepal Phase II project showing positive results

Category : Updates

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.

Innovation is beginning to happen as awareness of fish farming benefits grows in the project communities. Some farmers have integrated fish ponds with pigs, vegetables and other animals. In another example, an entrepreneur has undertaken an integrated restaurant-brick kiln-fish pond project where the holes made from digging mud to make bricks will be used for fish ponds to supply fish to the restaurant (see photo below).

Hampering future progress is the shortage of fingerlings to stock ponds but attempts are being made to establish a hatchery in the region. Training 2-3 farmers in hatchery operation would ensure the long-term success of the project. However, should the fingerling shortage continue it may lead to abandonment of the ponds constructed over the last few years. 

Another challenge is how to help these farmers move from subsistence to commercial operations. Although the Nepalese government (i.e., District Agriculture Development Office) is supportive, they do not have the expertise nor financial resources to directly support a few pilot farmers. One solution may be approaching some local banks for the provision of micro-finance and requesting them to hire an enterprise development technical officer.

The report covers the period April 1, 2010 – March 31, 2011 and was written by Dr Ram Bhujel of the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand, and Dr Madhav Shrestha of the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences (IAAS), Chitwan, Nepal, who have been successfully managing this project.

Funds for the second year of the AwF-Nepal: Phase II programme have been transferred to Nepal from AwF (UK).