Nelly Bassily | November 15, 2010
The People’s Republic of Bangladesh is in Southern Asia, on the Bay of Bengal. It is surrounded by India on two sides and shares a border with Myanmar (Burma). It is one of the poorest and most densely-populated countries in the world. Two-thirds of the 164 million Bangladeshis are farmers. More than three-quarters of Bangladesh’s export earnings come from the garment industry, which employs over three million people, mainly women. Many Bangladeshis seek work abroad. The money they send home is vital to the economy. It is estimated that 135 million Bangladeshis live on less than two dollars a day.
Bangladesh sits on the low-lying Ganges Delta. About a third of the country floods each year during the monsoon rainy season, restricting economic development. Rice is the staple crop. Many people are landless and live on and cultivate flood-prone land. Bangladesh is one of the countries likely to be worst affected by global warming. Increased rainfall, rising sea levels and tropical cyclones are likely to more seriously affect agriculture, human health and shelter as climate change continues.
Guidelines on the technical aspects of integrated chicken-fish farming, such as how to prepare the ponds and raise the chickens, can be viewed here: http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/005/Y1187E/y1187e15.htm.
Here is a short practical guide on fish farming in Africa: http://www.anancy.net/documents/file_en/009_Make_Money_With_Fish_Farming_A4.pdf.
While integrated chicken and fish farming is not yet common in Africa, it operates successfully in some regions, and is being tried out in others. This newspaper article from Zambia briefly describes how farmers have integrated chicken and fish farming with vegetable growing: http://allafrica.com/stories/201008100513.html.
Here you can read about a successful fish farmer in Tanzania:
Some resources on fisheries and fish farming produced by Farm Radio International can be accessed here:
-Democratic Republic of the Congo: A country that loves fish rebuilds its fish industry (Issue 34, August 2008)
-Notes to broadcasters on women fishers from 2008:
-Nigeria: Solar dryer offers effective method to preserve fish (Issue 78, August 2009)
-Mali: Women’s groups restore forests and improve fisheries in the Inner Niger Delta (Issue 112, May 2010)http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/05/24/1-mali-women%E2%80%99s-groups-restore-forests-and-improve-fisheries-in-the-inner-niger-delta-wetlands-international-mali-ips/
Fish farming, and integrated chicken/fish farming is a viable small-scale business opportunity for many farmers. It may work better in some areas than others due to the technical requirements. You could seek out farmers who have tried fish farming and profile their enterprise in a program. Ask them:
-Where did you get the idea? How did you find the technical information you needed?
-Are any of your neighbours doing it too? Do they ever ask you about your initiative? How would you advise them if they also wanted to start up?
-Does it require a lot of labour or maintenance?
-Where do you sell the fish? How profitable is it?
-What sort of fish are easiest to farm? Which are most profitable?
-Which members of the family are involved in the work and decision-making – men or women?
-How are the fish prepared for eating?