Aquaculture - Nutrition linkages with Feed the Future Aqua, Bangladesh: A Case Study


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The AgN-GLEE workshop for Asia was held on 19th - 21st March 2013, in Bangkok.

The purpose of this workshop was to strengthen current and new USAID Feed the Future investments to achieve nutrition outcomes in the Feed the Future target countries.

Presentation made at the workshop: Aquaculture - Nutrition Linkages in FtF Aqua, Bangladesh: a case study
Presenter: Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted, Senior Nutrition Scientist, WorldFish.

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  • I will present a case study on Aquaculture - Nutrition Linkages from a USAID Feed the Future funded project, FtF Aqua in Bangladesh.
  • This project builds on the success of Bangladesh in adopting aquaculture in the past 25 years. Aquaculture began with the production and productivity of carps in ponds. The focus is on producing large fish, men as producers and household income. Carps and other large fish, tilapia and the catfish pangasius are the fish of species of choice. The large fish are stocked as fingerlings, grow for 5-7 months, harvested over a few days, and sold all at once. This production technology does not favour household consumption.
  • FtF Aqua has four components, and one is specifically on Aquaculture in small, household ponds for income and nutrition. We plan to reach 200,000 households in the FtF zone in southern Bangladesh by 2016.  The production technology which we are promoting is carps with micronutrient-rich small fish. Small fish, for example mola, breed in ponds, are harvested partially, frequently in small amounts and used for household consumption. Unfortunately, due to many factors, the consumption of fish, and in particular, small fish by the poor has decreased. This production technology aims to increase fish consumption and nutrient contribution from fish. At the same time, there is an economic gain – sale of carps for household income.
  • Small fish have many advantages in terms of diet and nutrition
  • In the past three years, there has been much focus, much written and meetings and workshops on Agriculture – Nutrition Linkages.Some recent examples include:
  • Building on this wealth of expertise and analyses, together with our partners, we have developed the following Aquaculture-Nutrition linkages package in FtF Aqua:In addition to:- Household pond aquaculture (with micronutrient-rich small fish species inclusion of:- Homestead vegetable production in the homestead and on pond dykes, with focus on orange fleshed sweet potato - Promotion of increased consumption of micronutrient-rich fish, vegetables and fruits, especially in the first 1,000 days of life and in adolescent girls- Behaviour change communication for improving knowledge and practice of essential nutrition and essential hygiene actions- Gender norms, attitudes and practices in relation to food purchase, food preparation and processing, intra-household food distribution, work load – production and care, )- Monitoring and evaluation – process and impacts on production, productivity, consumption, nutrition and health
  • Let me give the example of promotion of OFSPOFSP integrates well in aquatic agricultural systems can be planted in small areas such as pond dykes and homestead gardensIt requires minimal labour, fertilizer and pesticides; and grows well in marginal soils. It is therefore a valuable food source during times of food scarcity or following natural disasters.Vines are easily preserved by households for planting in the subsequent season.Both roots and leaves are consumed      Let me give the example of promotion of OFSPOFSP integrates well in aquatic agricultural systems can be planted in small areas such as pond dykes and homestead gardensIt requires minimal labour, fertilizer and pesticides; and grows well in marginal soils. It is therefore a valuable food source during times of food scarcity or following natural disasters.Vines are easily preserved by households for planting in the subsequent season.Both roots and leaves are consumed      
  • Women are responsible for OFSP production and harvestingWomen have easy access to a nutrient-rich food – for all household members, as well as young childrenWe are promoting, especially OFSP in a complementary food with rice and small fish for young children – rich source of vitamin A and energy, palatable (sweet taste) Potential income generation through sale – control of income by women that can be translated to better nutrition and health
  • We have developed a complementary food, especially suitable for the initiation of complementary feeding at 6 months of age.
  • Promotion of Essential nutrition and Essential hygiene actionsYou have heard about this from SPRING – we are working with SPRING and HKI on thisTraditionally mothers and caregivers have been the focus of nutrition awareness and educationWe are aware that we need better approaches in order to have impact.For example, men do all shopping and therefore should know are the needs of their young children, pregnant and lactating women adolescent daughter as well information on nutrient-rich foods to make the correct decisions.Mothers-in-law must be targeted as well, in many homes they control the kitchen and decisions on food allocation between household members
  • We need to be open to unconventional and non-traditional solutions in order to find ways to improve gender inequity. Norms and habits are changing. We need to have a family approach and find ways to promote equity, e.g. in sharing work.We are well aware that Women’s participation in fish and vegetable production means more work for women. This can take away from times spent on child care. Therefore, we must pay attention to norms, attitudes and practices related to work load sharing between household members: women and men, girls and boys.Perhaps, it may not be as difficult as we think: This survey conducted by HKI shows that more men than wives and mothers-in-law think that it is NOT embarrassing for a man to help with household work.
  • How do we progress:Again we start with fish production – so we must find ways to get our staff to interest themselves and be committed to other areas – vegetable production, consumption, partnership to for better essential and hygiene actions. Scaling up – we wish to reach 200,000 households – what is our approach – not just to reach these households once – but having a sustained approach – not just the life of the FtF Aqua. Monitoring and Impact: Process and improved nutrition and healthIn the first instance, I will be happy to be able to show that the process works – beginning with an aquaculture intervention – this is the first time – and thereafter, being able to show increased dietary diversity in women and young children and increased contribution of micronutrient from fish and vegetables. 
  • Thank you and do visit our activities in Bangladesh.
  • Aquaculture - Nutrition linkages with Feed the Future Aqua, Bangladesh: A Case Study

    1. 1. Aquaculture - Nutrition Linkagesin FtF Aqua, Bangladesh:A Case StudyShakuntala Haraksingh ThilstedSenior Nutrition Scientist
    2. 2. Bangladesh has made great strides inaquaculture in the past 25 yearsFocus on:• Production and productivity• Large fish• Men in aquaculture• Household income
    3. 3. FtF Aqua Component:Household Pond AquacultureProduction Technology:• Polyculture of Carps (large fish)and Nutrient-rich Small Fish,carried out by both men andwomenFocus on:• Partial Frequent Harvesting ofSmall Amounts of Small Fish• Household Consumption,especially in Women and YoungChildren• Sale of Carps for HouseholdIncome
    4. 4. Small FishIrreplaceable Animal-sourceFoodRich Source of Multiple NutrientsAnimal ProteinEssential FatsEssential Micronutrients:Minerals and VitaminsCommon Food eaten with RiceAdds Flavour and Taste to the MealImproves Diet DiversityEnhances Mineral Bioavailability fromFoods in the MealCooked with Vegetables, Oil and Spices,further Improving Diet Diversity, AddingNutrients and Growth-promotingSubstancesProcessed (dried), Stored - ProlongingDuration of Consumption, ReachingNon-fish Producing Areas
    5. 5. Agriculture - Nutrition Linkages are now inFashion!Recent Examples:Webb P (2013):Impact Pathways from Agricultural Research to ImprovedNutrition and Health: A Literature Analysis andRecommendations for Research PrioritiesPotential CGIAR Research PrioritiesGood reference sectionWorld Bank reports (2012 and 2013):Prioritizing Nutrition in Agriculture and Rural DevelopmentImproving Nutrition through Multisectoral ApproachesDFID report (2012):Current and planned research on agriculture for improvednutrition: a mapping and a gap analysisFAO (March 2013):Guiding principles (10) for nutrition-sensitive agricultureDraft for consultation
    6. 6. Aquaculture - Nutrition Linkages Packagein FtF AquaPackage components:• Pond polyculture of carps and smallfish• Vegetable production in homesteadgarden and on dyke• Promotion of micronutrient-rich smallfish and vegetables, especially inwomen, adolescent girls and youngchildren• Behaviour change communication(ENA and EHA)• Gender norms, attitudes andpractices• Monitoring and evaluation
    7. 7. Promotion of Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato(OFSP)• Suitable for small areas -homestead gardens and dykes• Requires minimal labour,fertilizer and pesticides; growswell in marginal soils• Leaves and roots areconsumed• Valuable in times of foodscarcity and natural disasters• Vines are easily preserved byhouseholds for planting insubsequent season
    8. 8. Gender and OFSP• Women in charge ofproduction and harvesting• Work is in the homestead• Women have easy access to awell-liked, nutrient-rich food• Root is suitable forcomplementary food• Potential for incomegeneration through sale ofleaves and roots• Income in the hands of women
    9. 9. Nutrient composition(100 g dried complementary food)15% dried darkina fish, 30% sweet potato flour,10% soybean oil, 45% rice flourEnergy Protein Fat Iron Zinc Calcium Vit A422 kcal 16 g 12 g 12 mg 6 mg 660 mg 348 µg
    10. 10. Gender, Nutrition Awareness andDecision MakingImparting ENA and EHA toDecision MakersNorms, Attitudes andPractices• Household approach• Men - responsible for foodshopping• Mothers-in-law - in charge ofkitchen and food distributionamong household members
    11. 11. Gender and Work Load0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%Husband Wife Mother-in-lawIs it embarrassing for a man to help withhousehold work?Strongly DisagreeDisagreeAgreeStrongly AgreeHelen Keller International (HKI) 2012
    12. 12. Moving Forward• Aquaculture staff to be interested inworking with other sectors• Partnerships - untraditional• Scaling up and out• Sustainability of activities• Monitoring:production, productivity, householdfood security, dietary diversity andnutrient contribution from small fishand vegetables (OFSP), inwomen, adolescent girls and youngchildren• Process evaluation• Impact evaluation on nutrition and
    13. 13. Thank you