Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Aquaculture pushed for women

Aquaculture pushed for women

A woman records fish data in a logbook as part of the WISH-Ponds aquaculture project in Stung Treng province in 2012. Photo supplied
A woman records fish data in a logbook as part of the WISH-Ponds aquaculture project in Stung Treng province in 2012. Photo supplied

Aquaculture pushed for women

A project in Stung Treng province is giving women the opportunity to participate in one of the fastest-growing food-production sectors in Cambodia: aquaculture fisheries – a field that has also traditionally been among its most male-dominated.

According to a new article in the Journal of Asia Fisheries Science, the aquaculture sector, which already provides a sixth of Cambodia’s total fish production, is dominated by men due to its reliance on labour-intensive systems and constantly changing technologies. Cultural norms in many Cambodian villages ensure that women and girls are in charge of domestic work rather than learning new methods for food production, the report says.

But a project known as WISH-Ponds, launched by the NGOs World Fish and the Culture and Environment Preservation Association (CEPA) in 2011, has spread small-scale aquaculture ponds to “peri-urban” regions – usually poor areas where urban dwellings meld into countryside – to promote fish-production techniques that can be incorporated into women’s household chores, the report notes.

The ponds are built using small, concrete tanks with easy-to-use water storage technology to raise African catfish, known for their high resistance to low-oxygen water.

“WISH-Ponds provides a more sustainable method for introducing aquaculture to households, and especially for women who have limited experience growing fish,” said Chea Seila, a natural resource management researcher and one of the report’s main authors.

The ponds can be operated independently by women, Seila noted, and require limited land and labour, making them useful for boosting the food security and income of the rural poor.

The WISH-Ponds project was launched in Stung Treng’s Kamphon village, and the women involved are reported to have spent their extra income from fish sales on other foods and household goods.

The study’s authors also note that women’s involvement in aquaculture production is especially important as the sector is expected to grow to produce about 300,000 tonnes of fish per year by 2020, a 150 percent increase from 2014.

Responding to the findings, Rodrigo Montero, gender adviser for the German International Development Agency, said it is particularly important for women to be involved in food production and income generation because they are more likely to invest the benefits back into the family.

“Promoting the economic empowerment of women is a fair and smart approach, because it not only benefits women by increasing their financial autonomy, but is more likely to benefit the health, nutrition and educational outcomes of their children, families and communities,” Montero said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro