The objective of the present study was to assess the performance and problems of trainees under Batch 2 of the Aquaculture Extension and Training (AET) component of the Fourth Fisheries Project (FFP), based on the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) data collected by staff of the implementing Upazilas. This is the second volume of a series. The first volume, covering Batch 1 trainees was published in June 2003. The study aimed to assess the outcomes of FFP training in terms of knowledge and adoption of recommended aquaculture practices, its impacts on production and livelihoods, and the problems farmers face in applying the recommendations.
The Batch 2 Fishery Villages comprise Fisheries Villages (FV) 7-18 in each of the 211 Upazilas under FFP, with 25 trainees in each FV. The trainees were inducted in mid-2001 and had completed one post-training production cycle at the time of the study. The data were collected during August-October 2003 by Upazila teams of DoF. Four FVs were sampled from each Upazila (33% of the total FV), though not all Upazilas returned usable data. Usable data were returned for 752 FVs (31% of the FVs organised in Batch 2). In the surveyed FVs, 19.7% of trainees were female.
Annual incremental production is estimated to average 0.89 mt./ha. or 79%, which exceeds the FFP target of 50%. The incremental production of female trainees was similar (0.86 mt./ha. or 79.6%) compared to male trainees (0.89 mt./ha. or 78.8%). Incremental production of seasonal ponds was better (1.00 mt./ha or 107.7%) compared to perennial ponds (0.85 mt./ha or 73.3%). This indicates that the performance of relatively less-wealthy trainees, who tend to have seasonal ponds, was better. The production estimates exclude the once-only gain in stock remaining at the end of the production cycle, estimated at 0.43 mt/ha.
Of the total output from the ponds of the surveyed farmers, on average 28% was used for family consumption. Consumption from female operated ponds was much higher (39%) compared to that of male operated ponds (27%), indicating that targeting women can give more security for household nutrition as well as better performance in production.
Self-assessment of livelihood impacts by farmers showed that more than 60% of farmers had improved their position as measured by 7 indicators, except increase of water area. Under 2% were worse off by any indicator. The strongest positive impacts were on fish production (88% of farmers), fish consumption (85%), increased use of time for aquaculture (80%) and income (78%).
The FFP target of 40% of farmers fully knowing and applying recommended practices was exceeded. More than 50% of the trained farmers had correct knowledge and had fully applied the training messages at their aquaculture sites. About 25% had correct knowledge but had only partially applied it; while more than 15% had some knowledge but had not applied it at all. The remaining trained farmers had no knowledge, nor did they apply any of the training messages.
The main areas of farmers' concerns were the financial cost of carrying on aquaculture, and the availability of fingerlings of the required species, size and quality. The sincerity of the financial concerns, which were expressed by 73% of all sample villages is dubious in many cases, especially since the Batch 2 trainees were not selected with a specific poverty focus; they therefore represent a relatively affluent socio-economic stratum (sample surveys shows that more than 50% of trainees’ landholdings was above 150 dec. or 0.60 ha.). The concerns about supply and quality of fingerlings, which were expressed in 40 per cent of all villages, merit the serious attention of DoF.
In conclusion, the study indicates that, for Batch 2, FFP had achieved its technology adoption and incremental production targets. The FFP gender goal of 25% women trainees was not achieved (it was 19.7% in the surveyed FVs of Batch 2), but women who did participate achieved better results than men. The implication is that the sectoral gains from engaging women in aquaculture are potentially large, but projects and programmes need to take a pro-active stance on involving them. The study methodology does not permit any conclusions on the degree to which the FFP poverty target was achieved, or on sustainability of the gains in technology adoption and fish production. More detailed studies in the last quarter of 2004 will address these issues.
Daplyn, M.; Niaz Ahmed Apu; Shameem Ahmad, S. A. Fourth Fisheries Project. PRA Impact Study on Batch 2 Fisheries Villages of the Aquaculture Extension and Training Component. Volume - 2. Fourth Fisheries Project, Department of Fisheries, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2004) 34 pp.