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Molnar, J., C. Cox, P. Nyirahabimana, and A. Rubagumya

Date: 1993

Funding Agency: USAID

Keywords: rwanda, aquaculture, socioeconomic, economics, develpment, international

Category: International Country Report

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Beginning in 1983, the
Rwanda National Fish Culture Project helped farmers

improve their ponds
and pond management. It also identified and provided a species

of Tilapia
better-suited to the high-elevation. cool-water environment. The report

focuses on the
experiences of three specific categories of farmers, about which

little systematic
information exists.

Interviews were
conducted with 115 active farmers including 56 women who were pond

group members or
individual operators. Interviews were conducted with 21 dropouts about

their reason for
quitting fish culture. Similarly, l6 emulators were interviewed about their

lack of contact
with extension personnel.

The results suggest
that aquaculture has become an integral part of the diversification

strategy of Rwandan
farmers. Despite a lessening in the intensity of extension assistance,

farmers continue to
grow repeated crops of fish. They express positive sentiments about the

activity, its
benefits, and the technical support they receive.

The segment or farmers
that has stopped growing fish seems to have done so for reasons

other than
dissatisfaction with the enterprise per se. Dropouts were
slightly more involved in

other farm enterprises,
but the problems they identified were more related to circumstances in

their household or in
the milieu of neighboring landowners than with fish culture itself. A

narrow segment quit
because the water was too cold or otherwise was not conducive to growing

fish. Dropout
farmers perceived more time and effort conflicts with other farm enterprises

household work.
They were more interested in the cash proceeds of fish culture than the other

sample segments and less likely to feel that the pond was the best use of the land it occupied.

Women in groups
seemed the most satisfied and productive segment of the study respondents.

They had larger harvests,
they experienced fewer marketing problems, and they were

more attentive to
the general practice of fish culture. They also seemed
to get better prices.

Women in groups
seemed better able to exploit pond bank sales as a marketing channel for

tilapia. Friends,
relatives, and neighbors are an immediate network of fish consumers that are

readily alerted and
mobilized to purchase fish at harvest. Women in pond groups were

characterized by an
overlay of multiple social networks, and seem best positioned to distribute

fish among rural

Women in pond
groups seem to have most effectively realized the promise of fish culture

to yield benefits
for families, particularly children. The access to land, sociability, and

gender solidarity in a male-oriented
society, are major advantages of fish culture for women.

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