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1. Introduction


Aquaculture dates in most of sub-Saharan Africa from the 1950s. After four decades, by the early 1990s, returns on government and international aquaculture investments appeared insignificant. Many observers of rural development were led to the opinion that aquaculture could not work in Africa. The acknowledgement of failure was harsher when parallels were drawn with Asia. According to Lazard et al. (1991)[1], African aquaculture development received some US$72.5 million over the period 1978 to 1984, versus US$171.3 million for Asia and the Pacific. For this, less than three fold funding difference, Asian countries produce 1 000 times more fish than Africa.

Actually, as Lazard et al. pointed out, the problem has less to do with aquaculture itself, than with the process of tackling aquaculture development in the African environment. Even today, most research, development and extension systems focus on the transfer of technology generated on research stations, through a rigid administrative structure, to farmers who play no part in the process. The top-down, Training and Visit (T&V) approach implemented with World Bank funding continues to concentrate on “technology packages” to be assimilated by farmers through regular training visits by extension agents. The poor outcomes of this system have caused donors to seek alternative approaches.

In many cases, simple common sense suggested that hard science be tempered with socio-cultural knowledge in multidisciplinary teams to better appraise rural development in Africa. Many workshops have been organized around this theme, and key criteria to select research and development projects by donors started to include such jargon as “farmer participation”, “sustainability”, and “social equity”. In spite of many speeches, however, many projects continue to function with the old top-down system.

Table 1. Lead authors of national aquaculture
extension reviews by country.

Country

Author

Cameroon

Jean Kouam
Direction des Pêches
BP 11143, Yaoundé
E-mail: kouamjean@yahoo.fr

Côte d’Ivoire

Dr Ziriga Oteme
Centre National de Recherche
Agricole BP 633, Bouaké
E-mail: cnrase@africaonline.co.ci

Kenya

Dr Charles C. Ngugi
Moi University, Dept of Fisheries
PO Box 1125, Eldoret
E-mail: cngugi@net2000ke.com

Madagascar

Dr Georges Rafomanana
Direction Générale du
Développement des Ressources
Animales et Halieutiques
B.P. 1699 Antananarivo 101
E-mail: rafomanana@simicro.mg

Zambia

Charles T. Maguswi
Director of Fisheries
PO Box 350100, Chilanga
E-mail: piscator@zamnet.zm

Over the years, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has accumulated considerable experience with the various approaches being used by the numerous projects conducted in Africa. Regular syntheses of current practice are an integral part of the effort to continually improve the approach being promulgated and answer key questions about the development process. The objectives of the current study were to:

The choice of countries to be reviewed was made to ensure a range of environments, cultures, experiences and approaches to the development of aquaculture (Table 2). Cameroon in Central Africa, for example, has a wide range of ecotypes in which aquaculture has been attempted ranging from sub-Sahelian to the rainforest. These have been executed by a number of international agencies, most notably the US Peace Corps and the World Bank.

Table 2. Key characteristics of countries selected for a review of aquaculture extension in sub-Saharan Africa.

Country

Cameroon

Côte d’Ivoire

Kenya

Madagascar

Zambia

Size (km²)

475 442

322 462

582 647

587 041

752 614

Population (millions)

15,5

15,8

28,8

14,4

9,7

Official language

French & Englishs

French

English

French

English

Per capita income (US$)

610

700

330

260

330

Aquaculture production 1990 (metric tonnes)

150

100

1200

130

1500

Current production (metric tonnes)

300

500 (?)

1200

1530

8600

Cameroon (Central Africa) has a long history of aquaculture development projects ranging from sub-Sahelian to rainforest systems, involving, inter alia, France, United States, UNDP and World Bank financing.

Côte d’Ivoire (West Africa) has a long history of involvement in a wide range of aquaculture development assistance projects from small-scale to commercial.

Kenya (East Africa) has also initiated a number of aquaculture development projects with, inter alia, US, British and Belgian financing. In addition, Kenya was the test site for a recent FAO project to develop an impact monitoring and evaluation tool.

Zambia was a primary research and extension site for the long-running Aquaculture for Local Communities (ALCOM) Programme for Southern Africa. In addition, WorldFish and Peace Corps have active projects in this country.

Madagascar, located off Southern Africa, was the location of an FAO hatchery-led aquaculture development project aimed at introducing rice-cum-fish culture into irrigated rice fields of the central plateaux.


[1] Lazard J., Lecomte, Y., Stomal, B. & Weigel, J-Y. 1991. Pisciculture en Afrique subsaharienne: situations et projets dans des pays francophones; propositions d'action. Ministère de la Coopération et du Développement, Paris. 155 pp.

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