Investigating the Role of Fish Farming in Sustainable Rural Livelihood of Zahedan County Farmers

Document Type : Research Paper



Investigating the Role of Fish Farming in Sustainable Rural Livelihood of Zahedan County Farmers

Attempts have been focused on developing activities concerning food production, job creation and providing a sustainable source of livelihood for the majority of citizens in resource poor countries. Since the restriction of agriculture as the main risky rural practices impose many challenges to rural residents, rural development can no longer be based only on traditional agricultural activities. However, livelihood diversification can be an alternative to overcome poor living conditions in rural areas. Livelihood diversification through the use of reliable resources can contribute to formulate a survival strategy, maintenance and development. Rural livelihood diversification is referred to the phenomenon through which the rural household unit builds a group of activities and goods looking for better ways of living. Diversification as a livelihood strategy is the process in where rural households engage in multiple activities (either on-farm or off-farm, agricultural or nonagricultural) to survive and to improve their assets (livelihood assets includes natural, physical, human and financial goods, and social capital) and therefore their standard of living. On-farm diversification includes the introduction of new crops into farming systems or farmers investing in livestock, hunting, and fisheries. Fish-farming strategy is classified as one of the supplementary sources of income generation for rural households and especially their poor counterparts. Small-scale fish farming contributes to job creation and promotes rural development. Fish culture is one of the activities contribute to food production worldwide. But the question is whether it provides a sustainable source of livelihood for rural households. In the other words, could policy-makers rely on fish-culture as one of the sources of sustainable livelihood for rural farmers?

The present study was carried out to investigate the place of multi-functional agriculture in sustainable rural livelihoods of Zahedan farmers. This was an applied study based on descriptive – causal comparative method. Data collection tools were structured questionnaires. The questionnaire was consisted of four sections. The first section measures farmers’ vulnerability context by assessing the trends, shocks and seasonal conditions of living environment. The second part analysed livelihood assets (physical, financial, human, social and natural assets). The third section examines the institutional processes and the organizational structures which provide the context for fish-farming and necessary support for development of the activity. The fourth part investigates the factors affecting adoption of fish farming including environmental attitudes, the risk-taking propensity, technical knowledge and fish-culture innovation characteristics. The latter part of the questionnaire had been allocated to demographic questions. Validity was confirmed by a panel of experts. For testing reliability, a pilot study was performed and the results confirmed the questionnaire reliability (range of Cronbach's Alpha was between 0.61 to 0.82). Statistical population of this research was consisted of 52 active, 52 passive, and 52 non-adopters of fish farming strategy based on Krejcie and Morgan table of sampling. The 21th version of SPSS and the Excel softwares were used for data analysis.

The results indicated the sustainable livelihood of active fish farmers comparing to the other groups. Also, the fish farming provided the better status of five categories of livelihood assets in active fish farmers compared to the other groups of farmers. However, the sustainability status of all groups was assessed to be poor. Nevertheless, the active fish farmers revealed to have suitable place in terms of social (x ̅= 31.58), human capital (x ̅= 35.54), and lower status regarding their material and moral support of public and private organizations. They had higher levels of technical knowledge, environmental attitude, and risk-taking propensity than the other farmers.
Analysis of variance results revealed that, fish-farming affect sustainability of social, human and financial livelihood assets of fish-farmers in comparison to the other groups. The fish culture also was proved to serve as a sustainable means of livelihood among fish-farmers. The results of the discriminant analysis of predictors of fish farming adoption among active farmers suggested that fish farming experience had a greater correlation with livelihood assets in the audit function (r=0/96). In the other words, this result utilized to identify the experience variable affecting the level of actively fish-farming. According to standard audit function, age could discriminate among passive fish-farmers and non-adopter group (r=0/92).

This research shed light on the positive impacts of fish-farming on livelihoods of Zahedan farmers. Although, there is a long way to go for providing sustainable livelihood for fish farmers. Finally, some suggestions were made to develop fish-farming activities especially among discontinuers and non-adopter groups of farmers. The suggestions included the necessity to support fish farmers morally. In the other words, the importance of providing a context of institutional support which brings technical training to practical experiences besides the capacity building to promote social assets was introduces as necessary inputs to sustainable livelihoods of fish farmers.

Keywords: Multifunctional agriculture, Fish culture, Sustainable livelihood, Adoption, Zahedan county.


ارشدی، علی و زارع، حامد، 1390،ارزیابی فنی و تولید در استخرهای دومنظورة پرورش ماهی و ذخیرة آب کشاورزی در منطقة سیستان، شیلات، جلد 5، شمارة 1، صص. 85-77.
افتخاری، عبدالرضا رکن‌الدین، مهدوی، داوود و پورطاهری، مهدی، 1390، ارزیابی پایداری گردشگری در روستاهای تاریخی فرهنگی ایران با تأکید بر پارادایم توسعة پایدار گردشگری، مجلة‌ مطالعات گردشگری، دورة 1، شمارة 14، صص. 39-1.
جمعه‎پور، محمود و احمدی، شکوفه، 1390، تأثیر گردشگری بر معیشت پایدار روستایی (مطالعة موردی: روستای برغان، شهرستان ساوجبلاغ)،مجلة ‌پژوهش‌های روستایی، جلد 2، شمارة 1، صص. 62-33.
خیاطی، مهدی و مشعوفی، محمد، 1386، اندازه‌گیری و تحلیل بهره‌وری کل عوامل تولید در مزارع پرورش ماهی: مطالعة موردی مزارع گرمابی و سردآبی استان گیلان، مجلة‌ اقتصاد کشاورزی و توسعه، جلد 15، شمارة 59، صص. 74-53.
Ahmed, N., 2009, The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach to the Development of Fish Farming in Rural Bangladesh, Journal of International Farm Management, Vol. 4, No. 4, PP. 1-18.
Aliyanak, T., 2009, Environmental Guidelines for Small-scale Activities in Africa, Research for the Future Development of Aquaculture, Vol. 20, PP. 1-25.
Allison, E., and Ellis, F., 2001, The Livelihood Approach and Management of Small-scale Fisheries, Marine Policy, Vol. 25, PP. 377-388.
Armitage, D. and Marschke, M., 2013, Assessing the Future of Small- scale Fishery in Coastal Vietnam and the Implications for Policy, Environmental Science and Policy, Vol. 27, PP. 184- 194.
Bergquist, D., 2007, Sustainability and Local People Participation in Costal Aquaculture, Environmental Management, Vol. 40, PP. 787- 802.
Brakel, M., Muir, J. and Ross, L., 2002, Modelling for Aquaculture Related Development, Poverty and Needs in the Mekong Basin, Available at:// [May 2013].
Chambers, R., and Gordon, R., 1991, Suatainable Rural Livelihoods: Practical Concepts for the 21st Century, Institute of Development Studies Environmental Management, Vol. 40, PP. 787- 802. 
Edwards, P., 2000, Aquaculture, Poverty Impacts and Livelihoods, Natural Resource Perspectives, Vol. 56, PP. 1-4.
Guillotrea, P., Campling, L. and Robinson, J., 2012, Vulnerability of Small Island Fishery Economies to Climate and Institutional Changes, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Vol. 4, PP. 287-291.
Knutsson, P., 2006, The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach: A framework for knowledge assessment, Human Ecology Review, Vol. 13, No. 1, PP. 90-99.
Lehodey, A., Alheit, J., Barange, M., Baumgartner, T., Beaugrand, G., Drinkwater, K., Fromentin, M., Hare, S.R., Ottersen, G., Perry, R.I., Roy, C., Van der Lingen, C. and Werner, F., 2006, Climate Variability, Fish, and Fisheries, Journal of Climate, Vol. 19, No. 20, PP. 5009 – 5030.
Pravakar, P., Sarker, B., Rahman, M., and Hossain, B., 2013, Present Status of Fish Farming and Livelihood of Fish Farmers in Shahrastiupazila of Chandpur District, Bangladesh, American-Eurasian Journal of Agriculture and Environmental Science, Vol. 13, No. 3, PP. 391-397.
Reantaso, M., Subasinghe, R. and Anrooy, R., 2006, Application of Risk Analysis in Aquaculture, FAO Aquaculture News Lertter, Available at :// [April 2013].
Sheriff, N., Little, D. and Tantikaton, K., 2008, Aquaculture and the Poor- is the culture of high-value fish a viable livelihood option for the poor, Marine Policy, Vol. 32, PP. 1094-1104.
Singh, H., Murty, S. and Gupta, A., 2009, An Overview of Sustainability Assessment Methodologies Ecological Indicators, International Journal of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Vol. 9, No. 2, PP. 169-180.
Smith, L., Nguyen, M., Khoha, S. and Lorenzen, K., 2005, Livelihood Function of Fisheries: Policy implications in developing countries, Water Policy, Vol. 7, PP. 359-383.
Wilson, D., Raakjaer, J. and Degnbol, P., 2006, Using the Livelihoods Framework to Analyze ICT Applications for Poverty Reduction through Microenterprise, International Social Science Journal, Vol. 140, No. 9, PP. 12-40.
References in Persian
Arshadi, A., and Soltanzade, S., 2011, Technical andProductivityAssessmentStudy of Fish Culture inReservoir Pond in Sistan Province, Journal of Fisheries, Vol. 5, No. 1, PP. 77-85.
Jomeh Poor, M. and Ahmadi, Sh., 2011, Effect of Tourism on Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (Case study: Baraghan village - Savojbolagh county), Journal of Rural Research, Vol. 2, No. 5, PP. 33-62.
Khayati, M. and Mashoufi, M., 2007,Measurement and Analysis of Total Factor Productivity in Aquaculture Farms: A case study of warm and cold water farms in Gilan province, Agricultural Economic and Development, Vol. 2, No. 59, PP. 53-59.
Eftekhari, A.R., Mahdavi, D. and Poortaher, 2011, Sustainability Assessment of Tourism in Cultural-historical Villages of Iran with an Emphasis on Sustainable Tourism Development Paradigm, Journal of Tourism Studies, No. 44, PP. 1-39.