AQUACULTURE EXTENSION PROGRAMMES ARE OF LIMITED VALUE FOR THE
POOREST OF THE POOR IN BANGLADESH AS THEY HAVE NO PONDS
In 1998-1999 we implemented the Homestead Magur (catfish) Culture
Programme, also known as the Chari in the Bari programme in
the Compartmentalization Pilot Project in Bangladesh. With this
programme we tried to reach the poorest of the poor, and wanted
to show this group that it is possible to grow high-value fish
with limited resources.
main idea behind the programme is that magur (African catfish,
Clarias gariepinus) is a
good fish to be grown, because of its high growth rate, disease
resistance, ability to take up oxygen from the air, etc., but
that most local people are not aware of the potential of this
few households in the CPP area have already been growing magur
on their homesteads. This method proved to be successful, so
CPP has taken up the task to spread this local knowledge among
other households with emphasis on professional fishermen, landless,
and other poor people. Initially 200 households have joined
the Chari in the Bari programme.
people from this target group have not benefited from the previous
aquaculture extension programmes, because they do not have access
to ponds. In the Chari in the Bari Programme a pond is not needed;
a feeding bucket (or Chari) or a hole in the ground of approximately
1 m2 will be enough to grow 50 fish to marketable size.
of the selection criteria for the households was that the house
where the family lives consists of a straw, mud or jute wall.
This to ensure that really the poorest of the poor join the programme.
People who wanted to join the programme, but did not comply with
the selection criteria were advised to buy from local fish traders,
after which they could receive technical assistance from the fisheries
section of CPP.
fry is not available on the local market in the beginning of the
year; therefore a small hatchery was built in the project office,
where local staff have been producing 6000 catfish fry up to 3
grams. After production of this fry, selected homesteads were
offered the possibility to buy 50 fry for a nominal fee (10 Tk),
while the normal price for this number of fish would be between
25 and 50 Taka. Later
traders were taken along to the fish market in Jessore where it
is possible to buy catfish fry.
households joined the programme.80% of the participants were females,
15% were males and 5% were children. Some socio economic parameters
of the participants are presented below:
daily income 1.2 US$ per household per day
household size 4.7 persons
meals per day
participants were landless
participants were given four rules for the rearing of the catfish:
fish need to be fed every day
food can be anything except grass and plastic
smelling water needs to be changed
size difference of fish are allowed
first rearing cycle lasted about 3-4 months, Fewer than 5% of the
participants dropped out, and all of them during the first two weeks.
the average each household sold 5 kg of catfish with an average
weight of 100-200 grams. They invested 0.25 US. All feed was gathered
around the house and in the surrounding fields, which took about
1 hour per day.
the average each participant earned 8-10 US with the catfish rearing.
This seems to be low for development projects. But it must be realized
that this is equivalent to:
we concluded that the homestead rearing of catfish is: