Bangladesh is one of the world’s leading fish producers, with a total production of 43.84 lakh tonnes in 2018-19. Inland aquaculture of native and exotic carp species, as well as pangas, tilapia, and koi, have proliferated, and farmers have paid special attention to valuable, nutrient-rich native. The adoption of improved farming practices by farmers supported by essential extension services has resulted in such a significant contribution from aquaculture. Furthermore, new farming techniques such as pen culture, cage aquaculture, new species, and intensification of farming in particular, as well as the country’s favourable climatic conditions, have all aided in the rapid growth of aquaculture.
What comes as worrying is that the overall employment in the agricultural sector has dropped considerably during the last 10 years. At the same time, youth unemployment has increased from 6.4 per cent in 2010 to 11.5 per cent in 2020. If unemployed young people are redirected to the agricultural industry, the unemployment rate can be reduced, and the sector’s productivity can be revived.
On the other hand, aquaculture has a greater youth participation rate in Bangladesh than other agricultural sub-sectors. Young and educated people quickly adapt to new technology, which could boost productivity and efficiency, resulting in improved availability of fish for nutrition and economic security for individuals and communities.
Fish culture in Bangladesh was predominantly a conventional way until recently, in which fingerlings were stocked in ponds without nourishing the pond water, frequent feeding, or extra care to assure high-quality fish. Because of the rising demand for fish, aquaculture systems have been more scientifically controlled and transitioned from traditional to more commercial. Aquaculture production in Bangladesh has expanded 23 times in the last 36 years as a result of these improvements.
The Covid pandemic has had a negative influence on the livelihood of Bangladesh’s marginalised community. According to the International Labour Organisation, the pandemic has left one out of every four young people in Bangladesh unemployed. In light of this, the involvement of the youth in aquaculture initiatives can help them become financially self-sufficient. The government has also taken many initiatives, including providing essential training to the youth, establishing various opportunities for them, excavating and maintaining water bodies, and expanding fish production to provide nutrition and food security.
Iftekhar Ahmed Fagun is a postgraduate researcher, Sylhet Agricultural University.
Newspaper Link: https://www.newagebd.net/article/146358/aquaculture-can-cut-youth-job-loss