Bangladesh is experiencing a quiet revolution in its domestic fish farming market, with significant gains among all the stakeholder in the industry, according to a recent journal article from researchers at the US based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
Debunking the traditional view that fish farming in Bangladesh is mainly subsistence oriented, the study shows that the market for farmed fish grew by a dramatic 25 times in three decades, and that among fish farmers, 75 percent of fish are sold commercially.
There has been an equally rapid shift among consumers eating fish on their plate from a home pond to purchase of farmed fish from the market. IFPRI was established in 1975 seeks sustainable solutions for ending hunger and poverty in developing and underdeveloped countries.
"What really surprised me about these findings," says Ricardo Hernandez, research coordinator at IFPRI and lead author of the study, "was the extent of the growth in many sectors, not just in production but also in many o3-farm segments, such as rural and urban traders, input dealers and feed mills.
The rapid increase in mainly small and medium actors has produced a more competitive environment that has pushed the adoption of new technologies, which has increased productivity. This has greatly benefitted poor and low-income consumers."
This rapid growth has been spawned by increased demand; improvements in technology, communications and infrastructure; and investments by millions of farm households and small and medium enterprises.
Very little change was brought about by NGO or government action, although the government did play an important role in the early stages with infrastructure investment (such as investment in Bangladesh seed production, electricity and roads), a pro-business outlook, and a laissez-faire approach to land use and crop choice. What was once a subsistence enterprise in Bangladesh has seen a tripling of volume and players in all segments.
There has been a proliferation of feed mills, hatcheries, farmers and traders, with rapid increase of purchased seed and feed, rapid increase in the use of chemicals, increase in the use of hired labor, and rapid increase in investment in agriculture equipment.
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