The Gender and Aquaculture Seminar: Equity and Regional Empowerment in the Aquaculture Value Chain, a culminating activity for the NACA/USAID/MARKET Project’s Thematic Studies of Gender in Aquaculture, was held on 24 to 25 February 2015 in Bangkok. The year-long project conducted research on womens’ roles and influence on selected aquaculture value chains in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam.
The goal of the research was to raise awareness and increase recognition of gender roles, policies and programs in the aquaculture industry in the selected countries to support more sustainable and responsible development. The outcomes and recommendations of the thematic studies were presented at the seminar, as part of the dissemination strategy for raising awareness, and to obtain feedback from other gender practitioners in the region. The seminar also provided a venue for public and private sector stakeholders to share their current activities supporting gender equity and empowerment in the aquaculture value chains. Discussions on creating opportunities to harness contributions of women provided insights on how an enabling environment especially in policy and engaging communities and the private sector could encourage equity and empowerment. In addition, a the panel discussion on gender education, training and capacity building revealed insufficiency in current capacities in the academic arena for gender inclusion, as well as the urgent need for equipping practitioners with tools in the field.
The AFSPAN Project is a three-year initiative to improve our understanding of the role of aquaculture in food security, poverty alleviation and human nutrition. The project is developing new methodologies to quantify the impact of aquaculture in developing nations and low income food deficit countries. It will enable the efficient planning, coordination and implementation of research and development programmes supporting the sustainable expansion of aquaculture, and increasing its impact on food security, livelihoods and poverty alleviation for poor people.
Culture-based fisheries have been accepted as a useful development strategy, as a low-cost measure to mobilise dryland farming communities (e.g. rice farmers) to use existing water bodies for the secondary purpose of food fish production. The strategies to optimise benefits from CBF, however, vary in detail from country to country and across climatic regimes. The project will introduce community-based CBF in Cambodia, and seek to consolidate gains of communities that have adopted CBF in Lao PDR.
Aquaculture is an important component of food security. Mainstreaming gender is in aquaculture value chains is crucial to inform decision making and policy formulation. The project aims to strengthen ASEAN as an institutional platform for improving regional food security via the USAID-MARKET Project.