Impacts of aquaculture on livelihoods, nutrition and women’s empowerment in Bangladesh
The demand for fish, a nutritious source of food for around one billion people, is rising globally. The bulk of aquaculture production still originates from small-scale farming systems and practices in developing countries, such as Bangladesh.
Fish consumption and production play an important role in the lives of people in Bangladesh. It is a rich source of protein and the primary livelihood for nearly 18 million people, of which approximately 1.4 million are women. In recent decades, Bangladesh’s farmed fish market has increased by 25 times and the number of actors involved has increased three-fold. This dramatic growth has taken place despite considerable challenges such as inequitable access to inputs and limited roles in production decisions for women farmers. To understand the effectiveness of interventions addressing these challenges in Bangladesh, 3ie is evaluating the impacts of WorldFish’s aquaculture programme on productivity, income, nutritional diversity and women’s empowerment.
Landing the big one: Can we rely on the private sector to empower women and improve child nutrition?
A lot of traditional thinking in development says that the private sector can be a powerful force for tackling problems associated with poverty, but it can’t do everything. For example, private-sector actors, with their financial motivations, have incentives to work with poor farmers on value chains. But, the thinking often goes, they can’t be counted on to deliver other outcomes we want to see, like empowering women, because they do not perceive any gain from doing so.
Under the programme, WorldFish and its partners are working with smallholder fish farmers, particularly women, to increase the productivity and diversity of their aquaculture activities and promote child nutrition and women’s empowerment. 3ie is conducting a mixed-methods, theory-based impact evaluation, as well as formative and process evaluations of WorldFish’s programme to answer key questions related to the context and implementation.
We are also undertaking a systematic review (see this blog) to examine the state of evidence on aquaculture in low- and middle-income countries, particularly on women’s empowerment and issues related to gender in aquaculture value chains.
3ie has received a grant for this project from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.