Tag Archives: aquaculture

Five-country information for gender in fish production


A new working paper from WorldFish Center delves into some of the basic background information needed to develop research and development programs with a gender focus in aquaculture and fisheries production systems in Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Zambia.
Weeratunge, N., Chiuta, T.M., Choudhury, A., Ferrer, A., Hüsken, S.M.C., Kura, Y., Kusakabe, K., Madzudzo, E.,
Maetala, R., Naved, R., Schwarz, A., and Kantor, P. (2012). CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems. Penang, Malaysia. Working Paper: AAS-2012-21.
Abstract: “Aquatic agricultural systems (AAS) are systems in which the annual production dynamics of freshwater and/or coastal ecosystems contribute significantly to total household income. Improving the livelihood security and wellbeing of the estimated 250 million poor people dependent on AAS in Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Zambia is the goal of the Worldfish Center-led Consortium Research Program (CRP), “Harnessing the development potential of aquatic agricultural systems for development.” One component expected to contribute to sustainably achieving this goal is enhancing the gender and wider social equity of the social, economic and political systems within which the AAS function.
The CRP’s focus on social equity, and particularly gender equity, responds to the limited progress to date in enhancing the inclusiveness of development outcomes through interventions that offer improved availability of resources and technologies without addressing the wider social constraints that marginalized populations face in making use of them. The CRP aims to both offer improved availability and address the wider social constraints in order to determine whether a multi-level approach that engages with individuals, households and communities, as well as the wider social, economic and political contexts in which they function, is more successful in extending development’s benefits to women and other excluded groups. Designing the research in development initiatives to test this hypothesis requires a solid understanding of each CRP country’s social, cultural and economic contexts and of the variations across them. This paper provides an initial input into developing this knowledge, based on a review of literature on agriculture, aquaculture and gender relations within the five focal countries. Before delving into the findings of the literature review, the paper first justifies the expectation that successfully achieving lasting wellbeing improvements for poor women and men dependent on AAS rests in part on advances in gender equity, and in light of this justification, presents the AAS CRP’s conceptual framework for gender and social analysis.”

Enhancing global aquaculture opportunities for women

Seaweed farmer. Photo: GCA Proceedings p. 876

We are delighted to announce that the “Proceedings of the Global Conference on Aquaculture 2010: Farming the Waters for People and Food” has now been launched, including a chapter on gender and human capacity development, and the inclusion of gender in the Phuket Concensus statement. The inclusion of gender is a breakthrough and a first for a Global Aquaculture Conference, so please check out the many ideas in the special chapter (pp. 785-822).

Congratulations to FAO and NACA for the wonderful Proceedings and thank you to the members of Expert Panel 6.3

Please send the news of this new publication on gender in aquaculture around widely to your networks.

To download the full Proceedings, pls go to: http://www.fao.org/docrep/015/i2734e/i2734e00.htm

To download the chapter prepared by Expert Panel 6.3: http://www.fao.org/docrep/015/i2734e/i2734e06c.pdf

PAGE 895  Phuket Consensus

Support gender sensitive policies and implement programmes that facilitate economic, social and political empowerment of women through their active participation in aquaculture development, in line with the globally accepted principles of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Expert Panel 6.3’s report starts on p 785:

Sustaining aquaculture by developing human capacity and enhancing opportunities for women

M.J. Williams, R. Agbayani, R. Bhujel, M.G. Bondad-Reantaso, C. Brugere, P.S. Choo, J. Dhont,, A. Galmiche-Tejeda, K. Ghulam, K. Kusakabe, D. Little, M.C. Nandeesha, P. Sorgeloos, N. Weeratunge, S. Williams and P. Xu

Abstract: People are at the heart of sustaining aquaculture. Development of human capacity and gender, therefore, is an important human dimension. Human capacity development (HCD) was a major thrust of the 2000 Bangkok Declaration and Strategy, but gender was not addressed. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation’s (FAO) Strategic Framework for Human Capacity Development (HCD) emphasized building human capacity in a coherent fashion at four levels – in individuals, organizations, sectors/networks and in the overall enabling environment. Although strategic HCD in aquaculture has not received attention, substantial HCD has occurred in aquaculture education and training. Aquaculture departments in universities, aquaculture research institutes, networks and professional societies all include training as central activities.

Women are active participants in aquaculture supply chains, but a dearth of gender-disaggregated information hampers accurate understanding of their contribution. Research results and FAO National Aquaculture Sector Overview (NASO) fact sheets show that female participation rates vary by type and scale of enterprise and country. Women are frequently active in hatcheries and dominate fish processing plant labourers. Women’s work in small-scale aquaculture frequently is unrecognized, under or unpaid. Most aquaculture development projects are not gender sensitive, and aquaculture success stories often do not report gender dimensions; projects can fail if their designs do not include gender.

Lacking gender-disaggregated data on participation rates and trends in education, we conducted a preliminary survey of aquaculture tertiary institutes in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. The percentage of female graduates in aquaculture increased considerably over the last four decades, from zero or low numbers in the 1970s to recent rates of around 30–60 percent; rates vary both by country and within countries. No data are available to track whether female graduates are entering successful careers in aquaculture.

To accelerate HCD to meet the needs of aquaculture growth, commodity and theme priorities for HCD must be established. Educational institutions should cooperate and harmonize work programmes and overcome language barriers. Aquaculture education needs the best students and should help prepare them for rewarding careers. More social science content is needed in aquaculture curricula to groom graduates for management and leadership roles. The gender balance in aquaculture faculty could be improved by recruiting and retaining more women.

Gender should be put firmly on the policy agenda and built into normative instruments, old and new, complemented by the collection of gender-disaggregated data for aquaculture supply chains. Women should be empowered through gender equity in access to financial, natural, training and market resources.

Women in aquaculture should not be stereotyped as “small-scale” and poor. Women are often hampered by systemic barriers such as lack of legal rights. Women should be encouraged to build their management, leadership and entrepreneural skills. In circumstances where rural men have migrated for work, small-scale aquaculture has proven a suitable livelihood option to reduce the pressure on women. Because postharvest processing and fish trade are feminized occupations, gender equity deserves special attention in fair trade and fish certification schemes. HCD and gender are receiving more attention in rehabilitation efforts to assist survivors from disease and natural disasters.

Every day is women’s day…


Woman laboratory manager, fish quality control center, Wuhan City wholesale fish market, Hubei Prov., China. Photo. M. Williams

.. but 8th March is International Women’s Day!

The UN’s theme for 2012 is Empower Rural Women – End Poverty and Hunger. This is also an appropriate call for women in aquaculture and fisheries. Women now make up a greater percentage of the agricultural workforce (as shown in graphics on Genderinag.org) than they did a few decades ago. Individual studies on gender in aquaculture and fisheries also show a growing involvement of women in the fish value chains, although hard statistics are not available in most countries.

Turning points in modern aquaculture

Photo: FAO

Click here to view video

We recommend you check out this new comprehensive  FAO aquaculture video that, among others, highlights the role of women in aquacutlure. Good to see women highlighted in a mainstream aquaculture presentation.

Turning Points in Modern Aquaculture

Short Description:
“This 15-min video was produced by the Aquaculture Service of the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department for the Global Conference on Aquaculture 2010 and the Fifth session of the COFI Sub-Committtee on Aquaculture held in Phuket, Thailand in October 2010. With film clips taken from various countries and photos contributed by… many – depicting the range of people, species, environments, systems, practices as well as opportunities and challenges facing aquaculture, this video takes viewers to a historical journey to the major turning points in aquaculture development since the early and first aquaculture practice by a Chinese named Fan Li two millennia ago. These four watersheds span 25 years from the Kyoto Strategy on Aquaculture Development (1976), to the establishment of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (1995) through to The Bangkok Declaration and Strategy for Aquaculture (2000) and immediately followed by the creation of the Committee on Fisheries Sub-Committee on Aquaculture (2001) – enough to nourish its development through the next 25 so that aquaculture, now the fastest growing food producing sector can serve the people better, and communities and nations continue to prosper.”

Nori culture and gender in Japan

Nori farmer, Shimanto, Japan. Source: Wiki commons “the Story of the Seaweed Lady” http://www.thenutgraph.com/the-story-of-the-seaweed-lady/

Transition in nori cultivation : evolution of household contribution and gendered division of labor

by Dr A. Delaney  ad@ifm.aau.dk

In Cahiers de Biologie Marine Link

[CdBM (2011) Vol 52(4):527-533]

Abstract: Consumers throughout the world have gained familiarity with the seaweed nori (porphyra spp) thanks to the popularity of Asian cuisine, particularly Japanese sushi. Few actually know much about the people who produce this seaweed, however. This article presents qualitative social science research undertaken in Northeastern Japan among a community of nori cultivators on their production process and cultural way of life. Natural scientists acknowledge that in order to manage natural resources, it is actually the resource users who must be managed. In order to manage resource users, with the goals of social and environmental sustainability, we must understand both society and cultural institutions. With this in mind, this article focuses on the division of labor among cultivators, particularly along gender lines and the impacts, on a cultural level, of technological change on nori production. Technological change has had a profound impact on both the manner of nori production as well as the household division of labor and work and gender roles. Women play a key role in nori production today. With better understanding of such outward manifestations of culture and society we can bring the human dimensions of systems to bear in order to better manage these, and other natural resources.

Some additional information: A big breakthrough in closing the life-cycle for nori came in 1949 when Japanese researchers saw the publication of a British scientist, Dr Kathleen Drew-Baker, on the reproduction of a related species. Dr Drew-Baker is still honored in Japan for her findings, including by a memorial at Uto City, Japan (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathleen_Mary_Drew-Baker for an introduction). Thanks to my friend Choo Poh Sze for alerting me to Dr Drew-Baker’s work some years ago. Dr Delaney informs me that she has mentioned Dr Drew-Baker also in her thesis from which this paper is drawn.

See also this article on Dr Drew-Baker and nori culture from www.thenutgraph.com

Climate change: consider women’s agency, not just vulnerability

Photo: Nguyen Dang Hao, Vietnam. GAF3 2011

With world attention on climate change, two recent publications on gender and climate change, though not focused on fisheries and aquaculture, deliver a similar message: yes, women and men have different vulnerabilities to climate change, gendered analysis and approaches are needed but women and men’s agency, not just women and men’s vulnerabilities should be considered.

1. BRIDGE Cutting Edge Packs Gender and Climate Change

By Elaine Skinner UK Institute for Development Studies

Summary: Responses to climate change tend to focus on scientific and economic solutions rather than addressing the vitally significant human and gender dimensions. For climate change responses to be effective thinking must move beyond these limited approaches to become people-focused, and focus on the challenges and opportunities that climate change presents in the struggle for gender equality.

“Move beyond simple assumptions about women’s vulnerability to highlight women’s agency in adapting to and mitigating climate change.”

The Overview Report offers a comprehensive gendered analysis of climate change which demystifies many of the complexities in this area and suggests recommendations for researchers, NGOSs and donors as well as policymakers at national and international level. The Supporting Resources Collection (SRC) provides summaries of key texts, conceptual papers, tools, case studies and contacts of organisations in this field, whilst a Gender and Development In Brief newsletter contains three articles including two case studies outlining innovative local led solutions.

Download the Report

2. The Gender and Climate Debate: More of the Same or New Pathways of Thinking and Doing?

by Bernadette P. Resurreccion

Asian Security Initiative Policy Series No. 10. Singapore RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)

Abstract: Feminist and development advocates have recently taken international agreement framers to task for the paucity of gender perspectives when defining climate change agendas, a gap which has led to the emergence of ‘gender and climate change’ discourses. This paper aims to contribute to this growing concern with gender and climate change adaptation by: (i) briefly reviewing international agreements and advocacy literature in order to understand the conceptual antecedents underlying gender and climate change discourses and their respective deficits; and (ii) engaging with past and current theorisations on gender, adaptation and resilience which are relevant to a better understanding of the linkages among gender, climate change adaptation and human security. This paper argues that ‘gender’ and ‘vulnerability’ have to be viewed as complex social and human security processes that defy current simplifications based on fixed and essentialised traits and properties of women that characterised the earlier women, environment and development (WED) discourse. Current gender and climate change discussions often build on this earlier strand. An understanding of the complex linkages and processes of gendering and vulnerability is applied to recent climate change adaptation studies in Cambodia and Vietnam.

The Vietnam study addresses women and men in fish and shrimp farming areas.

Download the report

Sri Lanka: women marginalized at top of supply chain

Supply Chain Management in the Aquaculture Industry: The Case of Food Fish Aquaculture in Sri Lanka

Download at: http://sljol.info/sljol/index.php/SUSLJ/article/viewFile/3741/3021

S.P.M. Jayantha1 and D.A.M. De Silva2

This paper on supply chains for inland fisheries and aquaculture in Sri Lanka found that the fishery value chain was dominated by few big players and a number of intermediaries. The authors found that women became increasingly marginalized “with every step of the value chain with complete exclusion at the

Photo: Woman drying fish, Sri Lanka, Bandara Basanayke

top end”.

Gender and aquaculture issues brief

Women carrying the harvest. Photo: WorldFish Center

WorldFish Center has released an Issues Brief on Gender and Aquaculture, “Gender and aquaculture: sharing the benefits equitably”

Download at: http://www.worldfishcenter.org/resource_centre/WF_2832.pdf

The issues brief focuses on 5 themes that draw on many of the papers from previous AFS GAF Symposia and proceedings (see https://genderaquafish.org/resources-3/asian-fisheries-society-genderwomen-and-fisheries-resources/ for hand access to all the previous proceedings and publications)

  1. Markets, trade and migration
  2. Capabilities and well-being
  3. Identities and networks
  4. Governance and rights
  5. Climate change, disasters and resilience

Microfinance impact: a challenge to assess

Women in India. Photo. N. Gopal

Over the last several months, studies, blogs and news articles have highlighted the challenges of assessing and understanding the various impacts of microfinance. Although not directly addressing fisheries and aquaculture, the findings are relevant to those studying gender in aquaculture and fisheries  as microfinance is often part of a development initiative targeted at women in small scale fisheries and aquaculture. For those with an interest in microfinance, here are some of the recent items and related papers from GAF2 and GAF3.

1. Microfinance’s Sober Reckoning  from the Guardian, and the two recent reports it refers to.

  • David Roodman August 16 2011 from the Center for Global Development  (The New Realism

Download at: http://blogs.cgdev.org/open_book/2011/08/the-new-realism.php Center for Global Development

Download at: http://www.dfid.gov.uk/r4d/.pdf

 [Duvendack M, Palmer-Jones R, Copestake JG, Hooper L, Loke Y, Rao N (2011) What is the evidence of the impact of microfinance on the well-being of poor people? London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London].

2. Science magazine, June 2011

Summary. Roughly one-half of the world’s adults, about 2.5 billion people, have neither a bank account nor access to semiformal financial services such as “microcredit,” the growing practice in developing nations of providing small loans, typically less than US$500, to self-employed people (1). But what if they did? Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank, a pioneering microcredit institution, argues that this lack of financial access means that the poor, especially poor women, can’t obtain the loans they need to build their businesses and get on a path out of poverty. The idea has taken hold: In 2009, for instance, Grameen Bank served 8 million customers; its average loan balance was just $127. Worldwide, microcredit advocates now claim more than 190 million customers. Proof of concept, however, is not proof of impact. Recent studies have found that some efforts to provide small loans have produced surprisingly weak results, and on page 1278 of this issue, Karlan and Zinman provide more evidence that we need to rethink microcredit. Their findings, from a randomized evaluation of microcredit lending in the Philippines, add to a handful of recent results that suggest that microcredit’s effectiveness has been overstated by studies that selectively focus on success stories.

Abstract: Microcredit institutions spend billions of dollars fighting poverty by making small loans primarily to female entrepreneurs. Proponents argue that microcredit mitigates market failures, spurs micro-enterprise growth, and boosts borrowers’ well-being. We tested these hypotheses with the use of an innovative, replicable experimental design that randomly assigned individual liability microloans (of $225 on average) to 1601 individuals in the Philippines through credit scoring. After 11 to 22 months, we found evidence consistent with unmet demand at the current price (a roughly 60% annualized interest rate): Net borrowing increased in the treatment group relative to controls. However, the number of business activities and employees in the treatment group decreased relative to controls, and subjective well-being declined slightly. We also found little evidence that treatment effects were more pronounced for women. However, we did find that microloans increase ability to cope with risk, strengthen community ties, and increase access to informal credit. Thus, microcredit here may work, but through channels different from those often hypothesized by its proponents.

3. Asian Fisheries Society GAF Symposia

Three papers on microfinance have been presented at the last two GAF Symposia (GAF2 2007 and GAF3 2011)

2007 GAF2

From the GAF2 Summary: A form of marginalization is when access to a range of desired financial services, including credit and insurance, is poor. Arpita Sharma profiled the social and economic status of 4 types of women fish workers in Dakshinda Kannada district of Karnataka state,India– dry and wet fish retailers and laborers – and their small scale financial services needs. Self Help Groups (SHGs), non-government organizations and national banks were productive, especially in their service focus areas of credit and savings. However, only 40% of women are in SHGs, and more could benefit from forming or joining groups. Most significantly, women expressed strong needs for additional services, especially services designed for micro-enterprise development, insurance, remittances, and microfinance for housing and shelter. While agreeing with the better design of microfinance services to meet women’s need, the Symposium participants also pointed out that very little attention is being given to men’s microfinance needs.

[R. Veena and Arpita Sharma* Micro Finance in the Fisheries Sector: A case study of Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka. PPT ]

2011 GAF3

From GAF3 Summary: For poor households, microfinance has become a popular though increasingly questioned solution. It is often targeted at women even if the gender dimensions are rarely studied. Two presentations at GAF3 showed that microfinance, while well regarded by the recipients, usually does not increase their assets and productivity. In 2 districts of Kerala, India, Nikita Gopal reported that government and non-government run microfinance schemes had helped family finances and improved household financial decision-making in low-income families but, since most of the funds had gone into meeting household expenses and not into entrepreneurial opportunities, asset creation had been minimal. In Guimaras, Philippines, Alice J. G. Ferrer found similar results when she studied women and men in fishing and non-fishing households. The decision to seek credit was typically taken jointly by the wife and husband but women then sought the majority of credit, mainly from informal sources. The credit, however, fed consumption rather than production and hence failed to improve productivity or living standards. Both studies stressed the importance of examining all sources of credit and better understanding the need for credit.

[Nikita Gopal and B. Meenakumari Role and impact of microfinance institutions in coastal communities. PPT]

[Alice Joan G. Ferrer and Arthur P. Barrido.  Gender and credit market participation and access among households in coastal barangays in Guimaras, Philippines. PPT]

A WELCOME DEVELOPMENT: Fisheries and Aquaculture Institute Repositories

Research agencies are very important social institutions in fisheries and aquaculture. Over the decades, their knowledge continues to grow and multiply, enriched through partnerships, outreach and synergies between existing and new ideas. The electronic information era creates new opportunities to make agency knowledge more accessible through creating institute repositories. In the last year, two major research agencies have made their publications available through new institute repositories.

1. Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/. Loaded with scans of publications going back to 1948, and up to the present, you can search the more than 8,000 papers by year, author, subject, document type or division. The collection is also indexed in many of the main academic services, including Scientific Commons, Scirus and Google.

2. SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department. http://repository.seafdec.org.ph/ With hundreds of papers, books, handbooks, extension manuals, articles and newsletter items reaching back to 1978, this collection is also readily searchable and will be further augmented by pictures, videos, presentations and other products.