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Kenya among five African countries to improve food security through coral reef fisheries production

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22 Aug 219, Nairobi – To help enhance food security and to promote maritime safety in Africa, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, (FAO) has signed a USD 4.4 million agreement with Japan for a joint Blue Growth Initiative project.

This 3 year project is expected to target about 30 000 beneficiaries living in countries along the Indian Ocean and to improve coral reef fisheries production.

FAO’s Representative to Kenya, Gabriel Rugalema and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan, H.E Ryoichi Horie signed the agreement titled:Enhancing livelihoods, food security and maritime safety though increased resilience of fishing communities dependent on coral reef fisheries in the African part of the Indian Ocean.” This project will be implemented in five countries, namely, Kenya, Comoros, Seychelles, Madagascar and Mauritius.  

Speaking during the signing ceremony, FAO’s Representative to Kenya, Dr. Rugalema, recognized the continuous and effective collaboration between FAO and Japan and indicated that this project will help improve the livelihood of people in the targeted countries.  ‘This is an opportunity to strengthen Kenya's investment in the blue economy. The blue economy sector of Kenya must be transformed to contribute its fair share to the economy of Kenya in terms of food, income generation and employment creation,’ he added.

On his part, H.E Ryoichi Horie, expressed the need for a continuous investment to the Blue Economy in the region and called for a more energized effort in maritime safety and support. ‘This contribution by Japan to the Blue Economy of this region is a direct outcome of the TICAD VI Nairobi Declaration, which marked the Blue Economy as one of the key elements of economic diversification,’ H.E. Mr. Ryoichi Horie, he avers further

FAO and the Blue Economy

FAO over the years have contributed to the promotion and investment of sustainable blue ocean economy and forms part of the priorities of the organization’s mandate to promote sustainable use of marine resources in Africa.

One of the core pillars of FAO’s strategic objective in Africa is promoting structural economic transformation through economic diversification and industrialization, as articulated in the Nairobi Declaration and Implementation Plan of the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, 27-28 August 2016.

Tokyo International Conference of African Development (TICAD)

Fisheries account for only about 0.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and generate employment for over two million Kenyans through fishing, boat building, equipment repair, fish processing, and other ancillary activities. Kenya has claimed an Exclusive Economic Zone extending to 200 nautical miles offshore covering a total surface area of 230,000 square kilometers, which is the equivalent of the total surface of 31 of the 47 counties.

In line with the theme of the forthcoming TICAD 7 scheduled on 28-30 August in Yokohama, Japan, which is ‘’Advancing Africa's development through people, technology and innovation’’ by developing capacity of fishery communities including youth and women as well as  utilizing digital/ ICT technology to combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU), among others.

This project seeks to improve coral reef fisheries production for food security through restoring fragile ecosystems and assisting fishing communities to better manage the coral reef resources.

Outcomes of project

The outcome of the project will focus on sustainable coral reef based fisheries, selected protected areas, training on sustainable coral reef based fisheries, improved fish processing and marketing as well as increase in youth employment in this sector and increased coastal community resilience from external factors. 

Last year, Kenya co-hosted the 2018 Blue Economy Conference with Japan and Canada, where H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta urged both the private and public sectors to take advantage of the USD 1.4bn worth of bankable projects in the blue economy sector.

The need to develop the blue economy is also consistent with achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development, as well as  SDG 1 (end poverty in all its forms everywhere) and SDG 2 (end hunger, achieve food security, improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture).

The estimated annual economic value of goods and services in the marine and coastal ecosystem of the Western Indian Ocean is estimated to be US$ 22 billion and Kenya’s current share is only 20 per cent, mainly from tourism. (Source: KIPPRA). This project will be delivered in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation in Kenya and with the respective Government counterparts in Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles and the Union of Comoros.

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