Phase 1: Fish on Farms

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A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial of Homestead Food Production (Completed)

A gap in the evidence-base has been a lack of rigorously designed studies assessing the effectiveness of HFP in improving food security and nutrition outcomes. To address this, HKI and UBC, through CIFSRF funding, conducted a 22-month randomized control trial of HFP, known as ‘Fish on Farms’. Using HKI’s approach, 900 women farmers were randomized to three groups: 1) plant-based HFP; 2) plant-based HFP plus fishponds; or 3) control. Plant-based agriculture production was increased and diversified and because fish plays an important role in the traditional Cambodian diet, small indigenous micronutrient dense fish were promoted for harvest and household consumption, while large fish were promoted for sale to enhance household income.

Within two years, remarkable progress was made working with women farmers:

  1. 300 new fishponds and 600 gardens were established. While the promotion of fishponds and home gardens is not a new concept for Cambodian farmers, the development of household fishponds with polyculture of small and large fish was an innovative output that had not been attempted before in Cambodia.
  2. Improved women’s empowerment indicated by the majority of the women farmers reporting having money they could spend without their husband’s permission.
  3. Women in the HFP groups (plant-based HFP only and plant-based HFP + fishponds) were more likely to have higher dietary diversity scores compared to women in the control group.
  4. Women in the HFP groups had higher mean dietary intake of vitamin A and zinc as compared to control households.
  5. HFP groups were more likely to be food secure than control groups, with the most notable difference among plant-based HFP + fishponds households as compared to control.