USAID_Feed the Future_Annual progress report: February – September 2018

The Feed the Future Bangladesh Aquaculture and Nutrition Activity builds on the results of the Feed the Future Aquaculture for Income and Nutrition Activity and has the aim of sustaining positive aquaculture sector growth through an inclusive market system approach. This is a five-year assistance activity awarded by USAID to WorldFish on 6 February 2018 and is expected to continue until 5 February 2023 with funding of US$24.5 million.

The overarching goal of this Activity is to achieve inclusive aquaculture sector growth through a market system approach. Specific objectives are:
• Increased productivity of aquaculture production systems.
• Strengthened aquaculture market system, with particular attention to expanding opportunities for women and youth.
• Increased awareness and adoption of nutrition-related behaviors, with a particular focus on women and youth.

The Activity takes a market systems approach where the emphasis is on facilitation rather than direct implementation. The Activity will identify critical underlying issues constraining the sector and encourage co-investment by private sector companies and NGOs through grants to address these issues. A key principle is to encourage capacity building in existing value chain actors rather than establishing unsustainable capacity that will disappear at the end of the Activity.

During the reporting year, the Activity has completed staff recruitment for the leadership; market systems; monitoring, evaluation, and learning; grants and finance; research; and crosscutting teams. WorldFish global support has been drawn from HQ based expertise, especially in the fields of fish health, genetics, and nutrition.

The Activity’s focus for the first year was to investigate the present context, problems and underlying root causes of poorly functioning markets, and to seek market-based solutions for them. This was done through a series of 11 stakeholder consultation workshops with fish hatcheries, feed companies, feed ingredient suppliers, aqua drug and chemicals companies, equipment and machinery suppliers, fish market actors, representative associations and NGOs in Dhaka and in the Feed the Future ZOI. These workshops revealed problems in the key areas of productivity, quality and cost of seed, brood fish, feed and other inputs, knowledge and skills, culture management practices, post-harvest handling, fish health, financial services, transportation facilities, and irregular market fluctuations in terms of price, demand, and supply of fish. Based on these findings, the Activity team designed 13 interventions as key actions.

To execute the identified interventions by partnering with potential private companies, the Activity team has introduced a five-step sub-grant process, 1) announcement of calls for proposals, 2) submission of application, 3) evaluation of business idea/concept and selection, 4) submission of detailed business proposal, 5) signing of sub-grant agreements.

The Activity negotiated with seven prospective partners but signed sub-grant agreements with three partners in FY2018 including two NGOs and one private company. The sub-grants with remaining five partners will be signed in financial year 2018/2019.

In addition, as part of the genetic research work, the Carp genetic improvement program (Carp GIP) has been continued during the reporting year as planned. During the year, the program achieved breeding of second generation of rohu, and rearing of base population of catla and silver carp.

Along with that, the Activity supported the Department of Fisheries to develop a National Fish Health Management Strategy to protect the national interest of the aquaculture sector. This has been done in collaboration with important stakeholders including the Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (BFRI), universities, aquaculture input companies, industry associations, and other international stakeholders.

In order to highlight the Activity’s work, the team organized a visit for United States congressional staff delegation and the USAID Mission Director to Jashore. These visits aimed at familiarizing the visitors with the USAID’s long term investments in the aquaculture sector. Both the staff delegation and the mission expressed satisfaction with the visits and project progress.

During the reporting year, the Activity was successful in achieving key milestones in the Year 1 workplan. The Activity developed an Environmental Mitigation and Monitoring Plan (EMMP), quarterly progress reports, financial reports, and communication materials. Along with that, the team drafted the MEL plan, Theory of Change, Grants Manual, the National Fish Health Management Strategy and the FY2018 Implementing Mechanism (IM) narrative including expected FY2019 targets. In addition, the Activity organized a 5-day planning workshop to draft the Year 2 workplan 2019 (October 1 2018 – September 30 2019). The team also observed National Fish week with rallies and fairs, National Nutrition fair, and International Women’s day 2018.

Along with the aforementioned activities, to enhance the capacity of the Activity staff, several team members participated in various trainings and seminars on aquaculture, market systems development, MEL, enterprise resource planning system, finance support, and post award orientations on donor compliance.