An analysis of the role of extension methodology on poverty reduction : a comparative study of aquaculture extension programmes in the Northwest Fisheries Extension Project (NFEP) command area, Bangladesh
The current deficiencies of extension interventions in aquaculture in Bangladesh, in particular, in the North-west have been examined. The importance of the inclusion of a social dimension in development interventions has been reviewed. Aquaculture, extension, social development and poverty are defined in the context of the study and a model of their interactions is proposed and used to elucidate the role of aquaculture in poverty reduction. Research questions were generated to examine the contention that ‘Aquaculture Extension Approaches that fail to substantially address social development will lead to no more than a superficial reduction of poverty’. The study approach chosen was comparative case study (the first use of its' kind in this context). Within the study, communities representing four different aquaculture extension approaches and a, null-case, control were selected and then engaged in the research process. The findings that emerged from the study were matched and linked to the proposed model to establish patterns and linkages between aquaculture and poverty; extension and aquaculture; aquaculture and social development; social development and poverty; extension and poverty. The study suggests that all these aspects go hand in hand within communities, and that it is the degree of marginalisation that defines the success of any intervention as much as the intervention approach itself. The study indicates that aquaculture could be an entry point for a poverty alleviation strategy but the inclusion of a social dimension, together with the chosen technical intervention, is essential in achieving higher impacts on a sustainable basis. A number of recommendations for greater poverty impact through aquaculture intervention as an entry point are put forward, including the targeting of women as well as men, emphasise a learning approach, and the building of networks through forming community producers groups, fish clubs, Fry Traders and fingerling producers groups.