Final Documentation

Accelerating Growth in the Pond Fish Sector, Katalyst, 2007

    While pond fish has been one of the fastest growing agricultural sectors in Bangladesh as a whole, its growth in the Faridpur region has been well below the national average. Unused ponds, low productivity and low output have meant that the potential scale of benefits for the Faridpur economy and for poor people within it have not been realised. This case examines the experience of Katalyst in addressing the underlying causes of weak performance in Faridpur's pond fish sector.

    Consistent with their market development approach, Katalyst prioritised various key constraints in the value chain and worked with a variety of players to address these. Its key interventions - facilitating the development of a physical fingerling market, strengthening fisheries associations and providing nursery training - share a number of characteristics:

    - Choosing appropriate partners: Building a relationship with local partners who have the potential and ambition to become agents of change.
    - Sequencing according to market dynamics: Ensuring that the pace and order of interventions emerge from interactions with market players.
    - Strengthening market based relationships and improving practices: Establishing new and strengthening existing relationships between buyers and sellers at different levels by bringing in new information and standards.
    - Building ownership: Matching actions with partners' capacities at every stage, encouraging leadership and testing commitment through cost-sharing.

    Summary of results
    Katalyst's 2 to 3 year period of engagement has been relatively low-cost ($63,000) and has emphasised technical (rather than financial) assistance. Drawing on a detailed impact assessment survey with 563 respondents, it is clear that it has brought about discernible systemic changes in the sector:

    - Stronger associations: Organisational structures have improved, memberships have doubled and associations are more representative of the sector; lobby capacity and activities are growing, and members show increasing levels of satisfaction.
    - Improved knowledge and information flows: Nurseries, farmers and hawkers increasingly acknowledge the value of information and ascribe a strong role to associations for bringing in new knowledge. Knowledge and information have a greater role in the pond fish "business model".

    These changes have, in turn, caused a major improvement in business performance. Among half the farmers (13,600), half the nurseries (400) and the majority of hawkers (4,400), productivity has improved. This has resulted in wider benefits for poor people, in particular through greater employment (nearly 4,500 additional seasonal farm jobs), better performance and higher incomes for smaller (and poorer) farmers and higher consumption of fish (the main source of animal protein).

    Importantly, and unlike previous experiences in pond fish, interventions here have built change within the sector's market players and mechanisms. With the capacity and incentive to continue to change, this suggests that benefits can be sustained - and can grow - into the future. Katalyst's experience reaffirms that growth processes can be influenced to be made more effective and more inclusive. The case also highlights key lessons and challenges in engaging in value chain development, particularly with respect to how to engage with partners (such as associations) and the importance of process in (and therefore appropriate time for) interventions.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    Market Assessment
    »Pond Fishery Subsector Service Market Assessments, Bangladesh, IDE & KATALYST 2003
    Programme Design
    »Design of the Katalyst project, Bangladesh, June 2004
    »KATALYST - Implementation, Bangladesh 2002-2007
    Impact Assessment
    »2008 Reader on Measuring and Reporting Results, by Jim Tanburn (English/French/Spanish)
    »√Čvaluer l'impact des interventions M4P : l'exp√©rience du projet Katalyst, 2008