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Department of Financial and Management Studies (DeFiMS)

Ms Laila Kassam

BSc (Bristol), MSc (LSE)


Laila Kassam
Ms Laila Kassam
Email address:
Thesis title:
Assessing the contribution of aquaculture to poverty reduction in Ghana
Year of Study:
Year of entry 2009
Internal Supervisors

PhD Research

The thesis assesses aquaculture’s actual and potential poverty impacts and the institutions required for aquaculture development in Ghana. Data was collected using a survey of 69 small-scale fish farming households and 74 crop farming households in Ashanti Region, a survey of cage farms (19 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and 2 large-scale farms) in Lake Volta, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. The hypotheses tested are: i) small-scale aquaculture has positive direct poverty impacts; ii) indirect impacts (e.g. economic multiplier effects) from SME development have more poverty reduction potential than direct and indirect impacts from small-scale aquaculture; and iii) aquaculture development requires complementary technical and institutional development.

The results suggest that small-scale pond aquaculture increases household income of non-poor farmers who are trained and/or use better management practices (termed fish farming type A). Fish farming type A by non-poor farmers has strong indirect poverty impact pathways and thus, for equivalent increases in scale, higher potential poverty impact than small-scale aquaculture by poor farmers (who have difficulties achieving equivalent productivity), or SME cage aquaculture (where indirect poverty impacts are weaker). However growth of fish farming type A is constrained by high transaction costs and risks. Institutional innovation is thus required to facilitate coordinated value chain development and enable farmers to access services and more lucrative markets.

The findings support the current move in aquaculture development away from focusing on poor producers towards a broader value chain perspective and emphasis on developing more commercial aquaculture. This perspective is important due to the benefits of employment generation along value chains and the need for simultaneous and complementary value chain investments for aquaculture system growth. However the findings highlight ambiguities within the emerging paradigm and the need to target aquaculture systems and farmer categories with the highest poverty impact potential in different contexts.


Development economics, New Institutional Economics, pro-poor growth, sustainable livelihoods, rural development, aquaculture development, food security, poverty, impact assessment.