Principal Investigator (PI): Dr. Md. Akhtar Hossain, Associate Professor

Project sites: Pirganj Upazila, Rangpur and Panchbibi Upazila, Joypurhat
Collaboration: Rajshahi University, Khulna University, Bangladesh Agricultural University, BFRF (Bangladesh Fisheries Research Forum), Caritas Bangladesh, WorldFish Center and EC (European Commission)
Project duration: 2007-2008
Status: Completed


Executive Summary

A survey for a period of one year (September 2007 to August 2008) based on the fish culture in ponds and rice fields was conducted to evaluate the performances and study the livelihood aspects of poor Adivasi households under 12 FFS (Farmers Field School) in Pirganj of Rangpur district and Panchbibi of Joypurhat district, Bangladesh. The survey included 30 ponds (14 from Pirganj and 16 from Panchbibi), 42 rice fields (22 from Pirganj and 20 from Panchbibi) and 72 households (36 from each site). The households were selected through stratified random sampling.

Of the total number of households surveyed, 100% Adivasis were Uraon in Pirganj whereas four types of Adivasis were found as Uraon (44.4%), Santal (22.2%), Pahan (16.7%) and Mahato (16.7%) in Panchbibi. The homestead land of the households varied from 0.51 to 0.57 ha.  With major occupation in agriculture (75 to 94.4%), they had no (63.89 to 83.33%) or very little (2.78 to 11.11%) training to increase the farm production and income. With a mean family member of around five and a range of two to ten individuals per household, they had no capacity to mitigate the crises like shortage of food and illness of the household members.

Three different types of agreements (for a period of 1 to 3 years) in sharing the labor, input and benefit were identified while using the multiple owned or leased ponds or rice plots. 37.5% of the selected ponds were under multiple ownership. Rice fields were under single owned (> 70%), multiple owned (22.73% in Pirganj and 15% in Panchbibi) and leased (about 5% in both the sites) systems. Average area of pond and rice field varied from 0.058±0.030 ha (Pirganj) to 0.050±0.047 ha (Panchbibi) and from 0.144±0.108 ha (Pirganj) to 0.075±0.050 ha (Panchbibi), respectively. Before starting the project, a notable portion of the selected ponds (35.71% in Pirganj and 25% in Panchbibi) and rice fields (81.82% in Pirganj and 100% in Panchbibi) were with no fish culture.

Fish seeds (2.75±1.77 cm to 19.5±6.36 cm) were stocked in 78.57% ponds under Pirganj and in 100% ponds under Panchbibi. In case of rice fields, 100% plots under Pirganj and 85% plots under Panchbibi were used for stocking. The mean stocking density for table fish production in ponds varied from 26903.21±35046.19 individuals/ha (Panchbibi) to 42767.15±41877.98 individuals/ha (Pirganj). The mean stocking density for fingerling and food fish production in rice fields varied from 1622.87±8498.59 individuals/ha (Panchbibi) to 86934.42±177720.9 individuals/ha (Pirganj) and from 16916.53±16786.07 individuals/ha (Panchbibi) to 33715.8±16850.76 individuals/ha (Pirganj), respectively. Only polyculture of 2 to 9 species in ponds and both monoculture and polyculture of 2 to 7species in the rice fields were found in the study areas. Cowdung and urea as fertilizers and rice bran and mustard oil cake as supplementary feeds were found to use in ponds and rice fields. No inputs were also found to be reported in ponds (9.09% in Pirganj and 12.5% in Panchbibi) and rice fields (40.91% in Pirganj and 35.29% in Panchbibi).

Mean fish production in ponds and rice fields varied from 1196.71±805.01 kgha-1 (Pirganj) to 1246.38±1249.14 kgha-1 (Panchbibi) and 283.12±384.63 kgha-1 (Panchbibi) 296.68±404.03 kgha-1 (Pirganj), respectively. In case of multiple owned ponds, the number of owners/shares varied from 2 to 3 and the profit per share was found to be decreased with the increase in share. Single owned rice fields were found better than that of the multiple owned or leased in terms of production and profit. However, in terms of profit, leased rice fields were found better than that of the multiple owned.
Mean rice production varied from 4771.12±1290.28 kgha-1 (Panchbibi) to 5449.95±862.39 kgha-1 (Pirganj). Increased production was reported by 38.89% households in Pirganj and 31.25% households in Panchbibi. Dykes of ponds (14.29% in Pirganj and 18.75% in Panchbibi) and rice fields (13.64% in Pirganj and 15.0% in Panchbibi) were also used for vegetable production and thereby vegetable consumption increased as 30.56% in Pirganj and as 52.78% in Panchbibi. Fish culture in ponds and rice-fields increased the fish consumption from 13.89% to16.67% and income as 16.67%. Poor Adivasi households (97.22% to 100%) agreed to continue fish culture in the study areas indicated that they found the present effort as an effective option for the improvement in livelihood.
Constraints like unavailability of desired fish species for stocking, loss of stock due to poaching and poor water quality, lack of low cost supplementary feeds and management problem associated with the multiple owned or leased systems were encountered by the poor Adivasi households for the use of ponds and rice fields.  Increasing the institutional support through strengthening the FFS can be an important strategy to improve the Adivasi livelihood through fish culture in ponds and rice fields of these systems. Potentials of multiple owned ponds and leased rice fields to improve the livelihood of the poor Adivasi households should be explored through conducting further research on up scaling and out scaling of fish culture under long term agreement between owner and operator.