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Impacts of decentralized fish fingerling production in irrigated rice fields in Northwest Bangladesh



Rice field-based fish seed production (RFFSP) has become established in parts of Northwest Bangladesh (NWB) as part of promoting improved rice-based livelihoods. The impact of RFFSP on adopting households in terms of interactions of assets and other activities was assessed in a comparison of seed-producing (RF; n = 60) and non-seed-producing (NRF; n = 58) households that were sampled randomly and ranked as poor, intermediate and better-off. Adoption of RFFSP was not constrained by illiteracy of the household head, the size or ownership status of ponds, or lack of ownership of land or an irrigation pump. Poorer and intermediate households had smaller RF plots and lower production of fingerlings (kg per household) compared with the better-off, although production efficiency (kg ha−1) was higher. Restocking of fingerlings in RF household ponds increased productivity by 60% over NRF. Fish consumption of better-off RF households exceeded NFR by 50%. Among the poor, seasonal benefits of income from sales and subsistence consumption of fingerlings were significant. Rice production in irrigated, and income in both irrigated and rain-fed seasons was higher, and production costs lower, in riceplots producing fish than in rice-only plots. Implications for supporting the innovation networks promoting and establishing RFFSP among rice growers, are discussed.