Dhaka: 23 May 2017: Dhaka recently was a host to a regional workshop on various aspects of strengthening, empowering and sustaining small scale fish farmers association in Asia. The workshop was jointly organized by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN-FAO) and Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation (BSFF). The workshop participants included Chief guest Director General of Department of Fisheries Syed Arif Azad, FOA Representative from Dhaka office, resource persons from five Asian countries namely, Bangladesh, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Kyrgyzstan. Representative of the Ministry of Livestock and Department of Fisheries, farmers associations, hatchery owners, development partners and representatives of the academia and the media.  Syed Mahmudul Huq, Chairman, Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation welcomed the participants in the workshop and chaired its proceedings.

The Chief Guest and the other participants in the workshop stressed on the important role played by the small scale fish farmers in the Asian region. According to them, they are making important contribution to the national economies of the countries fisheries sector in the region and in meeting the nutritional needs and poverty eradication related challenges. Small farmers, they noted, face many constraints and handicaps which impact on their overall contribution to the growth in the economy and their own economic well-being. Formation of functioning effective organizations to achieve objectives which are relevant for them may help the small farmers in a major way. They called for all help and support which would enable such organizations to flourish.

Presentations of country papers from Bangladesh, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Kyrgyzstan highlighted the key pre-requisites for success of farmers associations. They also identified concrete organizational and managerial issues which should be importantly addressed to ensure the sustainability of the small farmers associations. All the participants underscored the need for future collaborative arrangements to promote regional cooperation that would help sustain such associations. The meeting also heard presentations on recent achievements of Bangladesh in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.