Several factors heighten food insecurity in Bangladesh, among them natural disasters, poor health and hygiene services, and chronic deprivation of the socially vulnerable. According to government figures, around 40 percent of the population is food insecure, meaning that 65 million people consume less than the minimum daily recommended amount of food.
A USAID-funded development food assistance program implemented by ACDI/VOCA aims to reduce food insecurity among vulnerable rural populations in selected upazilas in Khulna Division in southwestern Bangladesh. The program applies a long-term approach to reduce food insecurity by leveraging opportunities in a number of value chains based on market analyses, strengthening health systems, and empowering communities to prepare for and respond to disasters.
Parveen Begum is married and lives with her three sons and husband, Uzir Mollah, a very poor farmer. Mollah was previously the only member of the family earning an income, which was insufficient to meet the family’s financial needs year-round.
Begum received training on carp nursery management through the program, and with the help of her husband, stocked her derelict pond with 10 kilograms of fish (carp and japani puti, a local carp hybrid), worth about 1200 taka (approximately $15).
As a result of the labor invested by her husband and herself, Begum earned about 12,500 taka (approximately $156) from the pond in 2012 by selling the fish at the local market. After seeing her success, Begum's neighbors have started to visit her pond to seek suggestions from her on how to improve their own ponds’ productivity. Mollah said: “I am very supportive of my wife’s success, and am happy that my wife is now earning income that will improve our lives.”
Begum has leased two more ponds, and plans to stock them with carp fingerlings, so that she can further increase her family’s income.
Last updated: September 17, 2013