Homestead fish ponds help meet nutrition needs: study
Homestead fish ponds are playing an important role in catering to the country's nutritional needs while also developing its rural economy, according to a study by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).
BIDS announced these findings during a seminar, styled "The Role of Homestead Fish Ponds for Household Nutrition Security in Bangladesh, held yesterday.
The seminar was held both in-person and via digital platforms.
Fish is a major source of nutrients for people in Bangladesh, where more than 60 per cent of the population's protein and calorie intake comes from aquatic animals, the study said.
Homestead fish ponds contribute to more than 43 per cent of the country's total fish production each year.
With a steady growth in demand, fish consumption in Bangladesh has increased by 58 per cent per capita in the past 15 years.
So, the fisheries department should give more recognition to homestead production and help expand their capacities.
This includes improving the infrastructure to minimise transaction costs, and ensuring better market access to ensure that they gradually develop into semi-commercial or fully-commercial production systems, it added.
In this study, researchers analysed the link between homestead fish production and its nutritional values using primary data collected from 518 households engaged in fish farming.
Binayak Sen, director general of BIDS, said the study shows that fish farming in homesteads is playing a very important role for the rural economy.
However, more research is needed on what the government's policies should be in this regard.
"So, these studies may discuss the type of owner of these ponds, the size of the ponds and the type of fish farming," Sen added.
Badrun Nessa Ahmed, a research fellow of BIDS, said women get the opportunity to engage in aquaculture due to homestead fish ponds.
"After meeting their own nutritional needs, the surplus amount of fish is sold as well," she added.
Ahmed went on to say that fish is a major source of animal protein for local consumers, providing about half of the country's calorie and protein requirement.
"To meet the growing demand, aquaculture production is booming in Bangladesh and homestead ponds are one of the more prominent technologies," she said.
MA Sattar Mandal, emeritus professor at Bangladesh Agricultural University, said commercially farmed fish meet about 70 per cent of the country's demand.
"It would be good to know the contribution of homestead fish ponds there in addition to the type of ponds and what kind of fishes are being farmed," Mandal said.
Shykh Seraj, director and head of news at Channel i, said most of the data in this study are prior 2016.
As a result, the situation is no longer the same.
"Many changes have taken place in pond fish farming and now many people here think that cultivating vegetables is more profitable than cultivating fish," he added.