Thriving Together: Enhancing Food and Nutrition Security through Community-Driven Creek Aquaculture
In the hilly regions, water scarcity poses a critical challenge as communities grapple with restricted access to water sources. Throughout the dry season, these water sources nearly deplete, compelling local inhabitants to embark on long journeys in search of water for their families. In extreme cases, some individuals are forced to migrate to other villages as a result of the severe water crisis. The Bandarban Hill District Council (BHDC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Department of Fisheries developed creeks in remote areas to provide water resources for the community. The surrounding community owns these creeks, primarily used for household purposes, bathing, washing, irrigation, disaster management and water supply for cattle. However, the community creeks are primarily neglected and not utilized for fish culture, even if the government took initiatives for these creeks’ development for filling up the criteria of Millennium Development Goal 2015 and Vision 2021.
To address the issue, the Feed the Future Bangladesh Aquaculture and Nutrition Activity, in collaboration with GRAUS and Tahzingdong of Bandarban, aimed to promote aquaculture in these community creeks. The partner organized the community people and made six community-based aquaculture groups in Bandarban, Rowangchari, Lama and Alikadam and made different committees on management, working groups for fish seed and feed, working groups for fish harvest and marketing, and working groups for fish pond security and maintenances. They also made guidelines on community-based aquaculture business plans.
A total of six community creeks, covering 141 household members (comprising of 96 men and 45 women), have actively participated in this initiative, having received training in both aquaculture techniques and community creek management. With project support and their own contributions, these communities have successfully stocked their creeks with large-size fingerlings and are diligently managing the poststocking activities.
The intervention has sparked great enthusiasm throughout the hilly region. It is anticipated that approximately 1,000 individuals from these households will directly benefit from improved access to fish for both household consumption and sale. Moreover, this initiative is expected to bolster the availability of fish in the local market, contributing to the broader community’s well-being and economic development.
Beer Chandra Tripura, chairperson of Gajon Para Community Creek, says, “We are filled with excitement as we embark on the journey of fish culture in our once-forgotten community creeks. This endeavor holds the promise of not only securing a reliable protein source for our community, but also generating employment opportunities and increasing income in this hard-to-reach area.