Pelekelo Mubuyaeta leaves her maize and sugar cane field at midday after working from 6am to prepare lunch for her family in the Barotse Floodplain, Zambia.
Ranjitha Puskur guest blogs on International Women’s Day about the need for gender equality for rural women in agriculture.
We are living in an increasingly unequal world. A recent UNDP report entitled ‘Humanity Divided’notes that while Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in low- and middle-income countries has doubled since 1990, more than 1.2 billion people continue to live in extreme poverty.
The greatest increases in income inequalities have occurred in developing countries that were especially successful in pursuing vigorous growth. Yet, as the UNDP report points out high inequality is not an inevitable consequence of rapid growth. There are examples where increased inequality has been prevented with appropriate policies and with greater participation and empowerment of those in danger of being left behind.
An important part of the reason for growing inequality is unequal opportunity for women. Despite, longstanding recognition of the fact that promoting gender equality is both the right and smart thing to do, success has been inconsistent at best. The Millenium Development Goals report states that, while we have made significant progress on several fronts, accelerated progress and bolder action are needed. Continue reading
Recently, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced The Vibrant Oceans Initiative that will provide $53 million in grants over five years to revitalize marine fisheries in developing countries. This is welcome news. Especially interesting is their decision to support new approaches for financing fisheries reform through the impact investment group EKO Asset Management Partners.
Impact investing to solve social and environmental problems is not new, but the idea of using this to support reform in the fisheries sector is innovative. The basic premise is that if over-exploited fisheries can be put back onto a sustainable path, fish yields will increase. This should mean that financial returns to the fisheries should also increase. If deals can be structured so that investors share in the returns, every body wins.
It’s a seductive idea, but not without challenges. Reforming fisheries is often difficult and the pathways to achieving success are rarely straightforward. This is particularly true for developing countries where most fisheries are characterized by large numbers of small-scale fishers for whom alternative livelihoods are scarce. Continue reading
Woman cleaning fish, Cameroon.
Predictions for the future for our fish supplies should make us act
The recent World Bank report on future supply and demand for fish deserves attention and applause. It represents a laudable effort to explore how the economics of fish supply and fish demand interact and how increasing incomes and population growth will drive change. While the authors are rightly cautious about over-interpreting their findings, their results provide some arresting glimpses of what the future might hold. Continue reading
Nam Gnouang Dam (60MW), on a tributary of the Nam Theun River in Laos.
Eric Baran guest blogs about the increasing competition between hydropower and fisheries in the Mekong Basin, a WorldFish focus country.
The Mekong River is a goldmine. It features the world’s largest inland fishery, producing around 2.1 million tonnes of fish each year, which represents about 18% of the world’s annual freshwater fish catch.
Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam hold the four world records for freshwater fish consumption per person, and fish is the second food item consumed after rice in Cambodia and Laos. Capture fish is essential to food security in the latter countries where the livestock and aquaculture sectors are not developed. Mekong fisheries are also important to the economy of the basin, netting each year between USD $4 – $7 billion on retail markets and substantially contributing to employment in the four countries.
Fishing boat in Timor Leste
It’s easy to forget just how environmentally friendly wild capture fisheries are as a means for providing food. Jessica Gephart and her colleagues remind us.
At WorldFish, we spend a lot of time thinking about how improving fisheries and aquaculture can reduce poverty and hunger. We focus our research on how fishing and aquaculture can increase incomes and improve rural economies and how we can increase the affordability and availability of fish to improve health and nutrition among vulnerable populations. Less often do we think about how fishing and aquaculture can save scarce resources.