You are currently viewing Impact Assessment for the Livelihood of Fish farmers

Impact Assessment for the Livelihood of Fish farmers

This document describes an evidence-based evaluation of the immediate and long-term impact of LEVE/USAID grants to the fishfarming entities Caribbean Harvest Foundation and Caribbean Harvest Social Enterprise, both hereon referred to jointly as CH. Specifically, the study was interested in evaluating the impact on the resiliency of participating households.

After two months of intensive review of all the available literature, internet searches, hundreds of interviews, 10 focus groups, censuses of five villages, a nutritional survey of children, and in- depth follow-up surveys, our conclusion is that CH and its partners have had little to no impact on the resiliency of any more than a few beneficiaries. Specifically, there are only four impoverished lakeside fisherfolk who are currently project participants. Indeed, the CH activities are so insignificant that the Socio-Dig team could not identify a sample large enough to evaluate impact on beneficiary resiliency. Thus, most of the efforts of the research were focused on documenting and explaining the radical disjunction between CH and partners claims to have, for example, increased income levels by 1,000 percent for hundreds (if not thousands) of beneficiaries, and the reality of the program.

In 2014, LEVE gave a $250,000 grant to the CH project to increase its Croix-des-Bouquets hatchery solar energy capacity from 70 kw to 133 kw and to finance the construction of 257 cages for fishfarmers. In 2017 LEVE gave another $50,000 to CH to underwrite the establishment of a network of fish sales points. The Socio-Dig research team was tasked with evaluating the impact of these investments, specifically with respect to impact on the resiliency (capacity to resist shocks) of CH fishfarming beneficiaries in comparison to non-fishfarming families. While the study did find significantly better nutritional status among children in the community where CH currently shares cages with fishfarmers and supports social programs, there is little to no evidence that this has anything to do with CH activities.

The way the CH model is supposed to work is that each fish-farmer receives a kit, which contains two 4 m3 fish cages, 1,200 fingerlings (small fish), and enough feed to raise the fish to harvestable size, a process that takes 4 months. The beneficiaries are responsible for feeding the fish three times daily. At harvest, CH gives 10 percent of the fish to the families for consumption and then sells the remaining 90 percent of fish. From the proceeds, CH deducts the cost of feed and other inputs, and then shares the profits with the beneficiary family that care for the fish. The beneficiary household receives 40 percent of the profits, CH takes 40 percent of the profits as business income and for reinvestment in the CH social enterprise, and then uses the remaining 20 percent of profits to finance social programs in the communities where the fishfarmers live. These social programs include educational subsidies, provision of water, healthcare, and improved housing.