New report on the success of AwF’s work in Nepal

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New report on the success of AwF’s work in Nepal

Category : Updates

The recently received report AwF – Nepal: Empowering women through small-scale aquaculture covers the major activities of a small-scale aquaculture project with objectives of improving nutrition and income of rural communities by empowering women. The two-year project (Jan 2008-Dec 2009) was funded by Aquaculture without Frontiers (AwF) and launched in “Rainas Tar” within the Dhamilikuwa Village Development Committee,of Lamjung, a mid-hill district of Nepal, in collaboration with the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science (IAAS), Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal and a local NGO.

Initially, an awareness/interaction program was organized in the village to explain the objectives, describe activities and inform them that the Project Team would cover only 50% of the pond construction. A total of 52 women showed interest in digging ponds on their lands, which was almost double the number that the Project Team had planned to support. A demonstration field visit was organized for all of them to observe the similar previously implemented project in Chitwan and interact with the women. The women were trained in general fish farming on the following day and requested to dig ponds. Forty families, organized in two groups, dug a pond each within three months while others waited for the second year. Nine of those family ponds were used for M.Sc. student research. Polyculture of Common carp, Grass carp, Silver carp and Bighead carp were recommended. The average size of ponds was 44 m² (range 12 – 169 m²). Average support for pond digging was NRs 2,429 (US$33). After growing fish for about 8 months (May – Dec 2008), average production was achieved 4 kg (maximum 33 kg) per family with the total production of 191 kg. Over two-thirds of the fish produced were consumed by families and their relatives harvested partially on different occasions. In the second year, five of these women did not continue because of frequent problems of leakage and shortage of water. The remaining farmers continued fish farming without the financial support of the project. They chose Common carp and Grass carp, which grew best in the first year. In addition, Nile tilapia was included in polyculture. As a result production and fish consumption increased by two-fold with the highest production of 55kg by a family.

In the second year, despite the interests of many, only 27 new women were selected to support by the project. This new group constructed 30 fish ponds including three for a primary school. The mean size of their ponds was 43 m² (range of 12 – 200 m²) which were constructed with the same type of support. The newly joined women produced 158 kg of fish (average 6 kg/family, maximum 24 kg) in the growing period of about 8 months.

In summary, the two-year project was successful in establishing three groups of women, training them and motivating them to dig 70 new ponds and culture fish. This clearly shows that small-scale aquaculture intervention in the mid-hills of Nepal, empowering women is possible and has tremendous scope. This AwF project should serve as a model for the expansion of small-scale aquaculture in Nepal.