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Title: The livelihood impacts of fishponds integrated within farming systems in Mymensingh District, Bangladesh
Author: Karim, Manjurul
ISNI:       0000 0004 2683 1590
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2006
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Links between the pond and surrounding land for horticulture is a distinctive feature of farming households in Bangladesh. It was hypothesised that the role of fishponds in integrated aquaculture systems has potential towards improving livelihoods and poverty alleviation. Rural and peri-urban settlements in Mymensingh District, Bangladesh were selected for assessing the importance and role of pond-dike systems on the livelihoods of households of different socio-economic level. The study was carried out in view of the sustainable livelihood approaches of the Department for International Development, U.K. Participation of all levels of stakeholders was ensured in the first and last phase of the study. The combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis at community and household level was a major strength and challenge of the study, and was used to explore the potential of integrated farming and factors that undermine such potential to contribute to a sustainable livelihood. The research commenced with a comprehensive situation appraisal and baseline survey to explore the context and characterize farming systems, followed by a longitudinal household survey to understand the effect of seasons on livelihoods. Households with access to ponds were identified as active or passive integrators based on a simple set of criteria and their resources and livelihoods assessed in comparison with non-pond households. During the last phase of the study a farmer participatory research (FPR) trial, based on a priority issue identified during the 1st phase of the study, was launched to investigate the potential of the integrated systems. The situation appraisal conducted within four communities revealed the effects of gender, well-being and location on farmers' regular activities and food consumption patterns. Fish culture was equally important as an enterprise among richer and poorer men, whereas vegetable cultivation was more important to men than women but wealth and location also affected its importance. Lack of knowledge was a particular problem for farmers growing fish and vegetables in the rural areas. Fish disease, high price of input, lack of money were also identified as constraints by fish producers. The expected use and current use of ponds, problems and benefits associated with fish culture were also found to be affected by groups emphasising vegetable, orchard and fish culture within their systems. The role of the pond for family use, which was a major objective for pond construction, was found to be significantly different between rural and peri-urban areas. Fish culture is now the dominant use of ponds for households irrespective of their focus on vegetable, orchard or fish production and they are utilised less for general domestic use. Ponds are relatively more important as a source of irrigation water in rural than in peri-urban communities. Significant differences were observed between locations and well-being categories for the percentage of fish retained for consumption and that sell. Rice bran was the most commonly used pond input (80% of all pond households) but active integrated farmers applied rice bran more frequently than passive groups (91 compared to 63 times/season). ‘Ease of production’ was a major incentive for farmers to integrate fish and vegetable production and this opinion was related to household type i.e. active integrators were more aware and confident about the practice. The literacy levels of household heads, access to information and capital and contact with formal and informal institutions of active producers and the better-off households was significantly higher than other groups and poorer households respectively. It is revealed from the longitudinal households’ analysis that the consumption pattern in terms of food types and amount are linked with income, expenses and food availability in different well-being categories between seasons across locations. The empirical analysis showed that as active households’ income increased, expenditure on food purchases, agricultural labour, pond inputs and poultry per household also increased. However, on-farm contributions as a source of fish and vegetables were important during the lower income and least productive months. Performance of integrated farming systems varied by location. Resource base, accessibility to market and information played key roles in the development of integrated farming system in the study area. Active integrated households in peri-urban areas, in response to higher demand in the nearby market, produced significantly more fish and vegetables than those in the rural areas. The result showed clearly the need for due consideration of these factors while promoting IAA systems in Bangladesh. Farmer participatory research showed that production of fish could be increased by a substantial level through increasing pond nutrient inputs rather than stocking an additional species (tilapia), although this may be related to the ‘improved’ nutrition used by farmers still being well below the level required for optimal tilapia performance. Rural households benefited more than peri-urban through direct consumption of both fish and vegetables; in contrast peri-urban households benefited more through cash sales of both fish and vegetables than rural households. Higher production did not lead to increased consumption, rather households benefited financially through selling fish. Similar production levels of vegetables between groups followed different levels of fish culture practices suggesting that increased investment in fish production is complementary rather than competitive with associated vegetable production. It could be concluded that considerable potential exists for further integration and development of pond-dike systems, which could contribute towards improved livelihoods of both better off and worse off people.
Supervisor: Little, David C. ; Telfer, Trevor Sponsor: PondLive project (ICA4-2001-10026) ; Great Britain. Dept. for International Development. Aquaculture and Fish Genetics Research Programme
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Integrated agriculture systems Bangladesh ; Fish ponds Bangladesh ; Integrated Agriculture-Aquaculture, Livelihoods, Pond-dike, rural, peri-urban