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Aquaculture for Food Security, Poverty Alleviation and Nutrition

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Methodologies to quantify aquaculture's contribution in combating hunger and poverty

Aquaculture can play an important role in enhancing food security, alleviating poverty and improving nutrition in developing nations and low-income food-deficit countries (LIFDCs). An EU initiative explored methods enabling researchers to understand how aquaculture can promote development.


Information is limited regarding the direct and indirect socioeconomic impacts of aquaculture on rural development. Gaps in the research mean that the contributions of aquaculture to human health and nutrition and micronutrients critical to child development are poorly understood. The EU-funded AFSPAN (Aquaculture for food security, poverty alleviation and nutrition) project sought to better understand how aquaculture contributes to food security. Work began with a literature review on the potential contribution of fish-related activities to food and nutritional security and poverty alleviation. An integrated framework was then developed based on the accumulated knowledge. The framework was used to review national and international cooperation in aquaculture in partner countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Project partners evaluated the financial viability of entrepreneurial aquaculture and its contribution to poverty alleviation and food security. They identified enabling institutional conditions and arrangements for food security and poverty alleviation as well as successful public-private partnerships that contribute to aquaculture development in project partner countries. The team identified and analysed local social and cultural factors that impact aquaculture development. It reviewed best practices in nutrition education programmes through country analyses and case studies. An analysis of food and nutrition security and international trade was performed as well as an assessment of trade laws that enable or prevent aquaculture from achieving its food security objectives. Lastly, recommendations, approaches and policy guidance were provided to help aquaculture enhance food security and alleviate poverty. AFSPAN highlighted the significant contribution of aquaculture to not just food security and nutrition, but also job creation, income generation and women's empowerment. It will also enable LIFDCs and development partners to develop and implement sustainable strategies for improving the lives of millions of poor people.


Aquaculture, hunger, poverty, food security, nutrition

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Scientific advances

9 September 2019