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

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • State of emergency on table amid pandemic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, his deputy prime ministers and legal team will meet on Tuesday to review the draft law on declaring a state of emergency, as Covid-19 cases rose to 107 in the Kingdom on Monday. Speaking at a press conference after a parliament meeting

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 people have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly nearly 200 passengers out of Cambodia. The petition is targeted at 15,000 people. Most of the passengers are British nationals, who are stranded in Cambodia after airlines cancelled

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid

  • Many in limbo as tension heightens

    As the Kingdom restricts travel and prepares for a state of emergency, some foreigners in Cambodia are scrambling for a way home. Foreign embassies in Phnom Penh are making efforts to get their citizens out, but cancelled flights have become common due to the coronavirus

  • PM set to mend ties with US

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has responded to US Congressman Ted Yoho, saying he is ready to improve Cambodia-US relations, and not take up issues of disagreements which have become a barrier between the two countries’ bilateral cooperation. His response to Yoho came after the congressman