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

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting