For farmers in the Tonkolili district of Sierra Leone, fish are an integral part of life. Fish is one of the most popular animal-source proteins consumed in Sierra Leone, and fish farmers like those in Tonkolili are becoming important producers as marine fish availability declines, which will leave a gap between fish availability and demand by 2020. Aquaculture has the potential to fill this gap, and with increased production comes the need for high quality, local and accessible fish feed. WorldFish introduced and tested locally produced fish feed in Tonkolili district as part of a pilot project in 2015-2016 to help transform fish farming into an income-generating activity and revitalize the aquaculture value chain in Sierra Leone. Fish feed is critical to ensure that the fish receive adequate nutrition to reach marketable size and weight. To this end, WorldFish promoted on-farm fish feed made from locally-accessible ingredients, which consisted of WorldFish training members from previously established farmer learning groups on the feed formulation and production process. Those members then returned to their communities to train other farmers. After the pilot was completed, WorldFish continued and expanded the fish feed and related activities in their 4-5 year project, Feed the Future Scaling up Aquaculture Production (SAP).
Due to the gender dynamics of fish feed processing and marketing, WorldFish engaged the Integrating Gender and Nutrition within Agricultural Extension Services (INGENAES) project to better understand the activity’s gender implications. The USAID-funded project conducted a technology assessment using gender analysis to explore the direct and indirect effects of improved fish feed on men and women in Tonkolili District. The analysis examined these effects around three key areas of inquiry: time and labor; food availability, quality and safety; and income and assets. Students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Njala University interviewed men and women farmers targeted by WorldFish, project extension staff, aquaculture experts and members of the Makeni Market Fish Sellers Association as well as used project documentation to complete the assessment.
Read the full Fish Feed Technology Assessment to learn more!
Post written by Kathryn Mosiman and Colby Silvert