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Appears in Collections:Aquaculture eTheses
Title: An exploration of impacts of aquaculture production and marketing on rural livelihoods in three regions in Bangladesh
Author(s): Faruque, Golam
Supervisor(s): Little, David C.
Keywords: Aquaculture Production, Marketing, Rural Livelihoods, Bangladesh
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: University of Stirling
Institute of Aquaculture
Abstract: Increased domestic and international demand for aquatic foods have greatly enhanced aquaculture practices and production in Bangladesh, which is reflected in the national economy. However, the impacts of a fast growing aquaculture sector through the involvement of stakeholders, poorer sections throughout the value chain and broader rural livelihoods are largely underdeveloped and have frequently been ignored. The present study explores the impacts of dynamic aquaculture sector on stakeholders at production level and supply chain and test the hypothesis that aquaculture is enhancing rural livelihoods and benefiting the poor. Three aquaculture production systems in three areas of Bangladesh were selected for the study. These were prawn production in gher system in Jessore, pond fish culture in Mymensingh and rice-fish farming in Dinajpur. This selection allowed analysis both the impacts of domestic and export marketing of aquaculture products. Participatory research data collection tools; focus group discussions and participatory mapping were commonly used along with questionnaire surveys to ensure participation of stakeholders. Aquaculture, in general, found to have had significant impacts on rural livelihoods. The greatest effect of aquaculture on farming households were observed in income and consumption. Integrated aquaculture systems were the regular source of fish and vegetables and constitute more than half of the fish and vegetables consumed by farming households. While income from aquaculture was the highest among the several household income sources, the main cash crop differed between the systems studied. Prawn, fish and rice was the main cash earning crops for gher farming, fish farming and rice-fish farming respectively. Qualitative investigation suggested that aquaculture not only increased income through greater production volume, but also improved farmers’ assets through income diversification to farm and non-farm sources. The other important outcomes of aquaculture were the enhancement of social safety nets through increased sharing of inputs and labour among farmers. Commonly the aquaculture systems were found to be more intensive with an increasingly commercial attitude over the last ten years, which affected the intra-household labour distribution leading to a greater role for women in production management. While the three activities; fish feed preparation, feeding and growing vegetables performed by vast majority of women could be attributed to their inherent involvement with agriculture, hard physical work like harvesting ponds and pond construction were mostly carried out by the women from poor households as a strategy to reduce hired labour cost. The women’s’ increased involvement in aquaculture not only increased their overall workload, but also empowered them in household decision making to some extend. However, involvement in decision making was related to the level of involvement in production activities. The impacts of aquaculture spread beyond the farming households to the broader rural livelihoods. Wage labourers and fishers (harvesting teams) two of the poorest groups of people directly involved were benefited most over the last ten years. Intensification of aquaculture increased the demand for hired labour leading to a structural shift in the agricultural wage labour market in farming communities. About half of the agricultural labourers were found part-time employed in aquaculture activities in Jessore and Mymensingh. In Dinajpur intensification of rice cultivation had a much higher effect on the demand for labour than aquaculture. Increased employment in rural areas increased real labour wages by about one fifth over the last ten years and subsequently improved livelihood outcomes. Declining fish catch due to both decreased natural fish stocks and more restricted property rights, professional fishers benefited by diversifying their livelihoods into the aquaculture sector. While, many of the fishers permanently changed their profession to prawn marketing in Jessore, the rest were full-time or part-time employed in harvesting ponds and/or retailing fish in markets. Such diversification of income greatly reduced seasonal vulnerability and improved livelihood outcomes. The role of fish marketing, which is a critical institution in rural livelihoods, was found to facilitate the growth of the aquaculture sector. High demand of aquatic products and the diverse options of marketing fisheries enabled farmers to meet their initial requirements. More commercial operations of aquaculture increased farmers’ awareness and linkages to markets. However, typically the worse-off farmers were the slowest to capture new market opportunities, often due to their poor resources and human capital. Fish marketing was found to be run by the private sector and government provided the infrastructure facilities, except prawn processing plants, which were developed by private sector. While the fish market transactions were fairly efficient, markets facilities and infrastructure were commonly poor and need of government investment for improvement. A gradual growth of fish and markets in the rural areas was observed in the study; this was driven by the increased demand for fish through increased population and supply from aquaculture. The marketing intermediaries provided important services despite their small share of consumers’ price and ensured a fair share for farmers. The auctioneers provided a vital role in running the supply chain with investment and credits, which ensured fair competition in the pricing process. Marketing of aquatic products was not only a mechanism of product transaction, but also provided critical livelihoods for rural poor. On average about one hundred people, including retailers were involved in auction markets and eight people in prawn depots. Importantly the number of people in marketing was found to have increase over the years. Access for different groups of poor people to marketing jobs was found to be significant in rural livelihoods. The asset base and daily earning indicates that more than three quarters of the marketing intermediaries were poor; some of them were from poorest and low cast Hindu society. Greater flexibility of entry and exit to the jobs enabled the poorer sections to diversify their livelihoods, which enabled to cope with seasonal variability of opportunities and stable income. The marketing employment provided then increased livelihood welfare and social security. Finally, it can be concluded that the promotion of aquaculture not only increased much needed food availability but also generated critical livelihoods and marketing is not just a mechanism of product flow, but also providing livelihoods welfare to poorest sections of the society. The micro level findings of the study regarding impacts of aquaculture indicate that aquaculture production and marketing have significant impacts on enhancing rural livelihoods in Bangladesh.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Natural Sciences

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