Sundardeep Women Fish Farmer Cooperative in the Chitwan district in Nepal, is engaged in carp farming integrated with vegetable production. Sundardeep was founded in 2012 and unites 25 female fish farmers. Sundardeep closely cooperates with other women fish farmer cooperatives in the region: Kapia Women Cooperative and Sri Churiya Cooperative. 297 women fish farmers and their families benefit from the activities from Sundardeep.
Fish production in Nepal is dominated by semi-intensive small-scale farming of carp. Sundardeep provides inputs to their members and organises trainings to women fish farmers and nursery owners on leadership management, integrated fish farming and nursery management. An important challenge for fish farmers in Nepal is the unstable and unpredictable supply chain of inputs. Farmers are unable to source fry and fingerlings timely, and at affordable costs either from government or from private hatcheries. As a result, proper planning of fish farming activities becomes very difficult. Weak transportation networks are a logistical constraint over the whole chain: for both delivery of fingerlings from nursery to farms, as well as for delivery of fish from farms to consumer markets. Most woman fish farmers lack economies of scale, financial resources and knowledge that can be utilised in marketing and product promotion. As a consequence they are limited to production aspects. Locally produced fish often has to compete with imported Indian fish available at lower prices.
With the support of ESFIM, the Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU) in Nepal and Sundardeep partnered in 2016 to conduct a fish market and value chain analysis for carp. The ESFIM project builds further upon strengthening capacity development projects from the Finnish agri-agency for Food and Forest Development (FFD). These projects have supported the initiation of small-scale commercial ponds and integrated production of carp with vegetable farming. Economic research on improvement of the sourcing of fingerlings and insights in consumer demand however are needed to improve the market position of women fish farmers of Sundardeep. This research is supported by ESFIM. With the insights and information gathered, Sundardeep and the other women cooperatives and groups can better plan their fish production. Further, market and price information can be used to develop the marketing and sales efforts of all the beneficiaries. The results will be shared with different relevant stakeholders and provide necessary input to promote evidence-based policy making. Dissemination of results among other women fish farmers cooperatives and other stakeholders in Nepal will also be organised through the Fishery Association of Nepal (FAN).
Sundardeep started the implementation of the project by the end of 2016. The project will be finalized before the end of 2017.