Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Gender and Nutrition Agriculture with Climate-Smart Agriculture Approach

Gender and nutrition are key factors for effectiveness of climate-smart agriculture approaches. To achieve significant decrease in malnutrition it takes more than increasing food production or family income. Access to health care, WASH, communication and social networks for women and men are part of a holistic approach.

In many developing nations in Africa and Southeast Asia, seafood now accounts for over 50 percent of animal protein. It is leaner than other animal proteins and provides essential micronutrients, especially important to expecting mothers and infants. Yet vanishing wild fish populations mean these nutritional benefits are vulnerable.

James Anderson from the University of Florida’s Institute for Sustainable Food Systems shared at the FAO Congressional Brief (June 19, 2017)  that seafood accounts for 35 percent of global animal protein production, a figure on the rise. Anderson stressed that as global wealth has increased, demand for fish has risen as well, and currently seafood is the most traded product on the planet, with an estimated export value of $148 billion in 2014.

Fish farmers are stepping in to meet the growing demand for this important source of nutrition. According to the FAO, in 2014 nearly half of all consumed fish was produced by aquaculture. By 2030, it is estimated that about 62 percent of all fish that are consumed will be produced by aquaculture.

During the Global Learning and Evidence Exchange in Cambodia (Dec 2016), participants had the opportunity to visit fish refugee farms and community projects to increase nutrition in women and children. The Rice Field fisheries are viewed as a promising approach to meet domestic demands for small fish. World Fish’s Rice Field Fisheries Enhancement Project (RFFEP)  (Cambodia), implemented a community fish refuges approach intended to improve productivity of rice field fisheries. Through building and maintaining refuge ponds during the dry season, they provide sanctuaries for brood fish that in wet season inundate rice fields. This systems creates a natural flow as water levels drop and fish naturally migrate to deeper water areas, and the connected ponds provide the refuge until the next flooding.

WorldFish’s Blake Ratner, Director of Research, and Dr. Shakuntala Thilsted, Program Leader for Value Chains and Nutrition, shared their lessons learned in this approach and how they are working to increase nutrition with fish porridge for children under 5 years old.

For more information on fish farming and nutrition projects see:

Fishing for Food Security:Cambodia’s Community Fish Refuges

Fishing for Health and Wealth in Cambodia

Fishing for Fortune, Bangladesh


5 Ways to Improve Nutrition Through Agriculture, SPRING Infographic (available in English and French)

Rice Fish Systems resource, IRRI

Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture training, USAID


Join the Discussion

  • What approaches and adaptations are you implementing to improve nutrition with women and children? 
  • What success are you observing and how are you scaling these in other communities?