The fisheries and aquaculture administration is under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA). Following reorganisation in 1985, the MOA has four main departments, each under the control of a Vice-Minister. The Animal and Fishery Resources (main department) comprise the Fisheries Resource Development Department (FRDD) and the FPMC. The central roles exercised in the Ministry's headquarters are in policy formulation, planning, monitoring/evaluation, coordination and in the performance of regulatory functions, while other MOA bodies have complementary functions towards support to the technical departments, like the Legal Department of MOA.
Poor linkage and coordination between the large departments and the apparent absence of an effective line of communication with the field level, are among the serious problems to be faced by the Ministry. However, as a result of changes in national policy, particularly regarding decentralization, the MOA is currently under a process of restructuration.
In the recent past, a major problem facing the MOA was the cost of the internal troubles in the country, which exceeded half of the national recurrent budget. In 1989/90 MOA received only 66% of its initial total budget allocation of Br283million, with consequent reduction in the financial resources originally allocated to the FRDD.
The FRDD is in principle responsible for the coordination of all activities related to fisheries and aquaculture. In 1993, there were three divisions within the FRDD:
- Fish Resource Utilisation, Conservation and Control Division (extension services to fishermen and consumers to improve fish utilisation; conservation of fish resources; measures to control fishing gear, seasons, areas; fish quality at producer's and consumer's levels);
- Fish Culture and Research Division (production of fingerlings at the Sebeta site for stocking man-made water bodies, together with applied research in national fisheries);
- Fishing Gear Improvement and Development Division (improvement to fishing boats and gear plus practical training in using such equipment; instruction on avoidance of forbidden fishing methods).
In 1989/90, at its Head Office in Addis Ababa and the Sebeta station nearby, the FRDD had a total of 25 persons, of whom 17 were technical staff. Spread throughout the country at the Regional Offices of MOA were 80 more FRDD staff, of whom 74 extension workers. Nevertheless, the degree of decentralization was already such as that time, that FRDD headquarters had little direct control over regional personnel.
When the current decentralization process and related administrative restructuring is achieved, the Regional Offices may have a total autonomy and their own separate budgets. In May 1993, as a start in the restructuring process, only 7 technical officers were apparently left at FRDD headquarters, while 6 were maintained at Sebeta (SFCS), the remainder (about 90) being redistributed among the regions.
Channels of communication, coordinating procedures and functional development activities between the Central, Regional and District set-up are still to be fully devised and materialized.
None of the FRDD staff at central and regional levels has educational background or training in social sciences, and in particular in economics. This is paradoxal considering the strong influence of socio-economic factors on the fishery sector in Ethiopia. Hence, development planning and programming functions, and more generally assessment of fishery development needs and priorities, are mostly performed on an ad hoc basis.
Extension services lack of vehicles to visit fishing sites, while workers are not sufficiently trained in the skills they need. The construction of two demonstration centres at Ziway and Arba Minch has been temporarily abandoned for lack of funds.
The problem of fisheries personnel is exacerbated by the lack of clearly established job descriptions and proper manpower planning, as well as by cumbersome administrative procedures and severe budgetary constraints (Br288 000 in 1989/90, i.e. about 8% of the value of fish landed at producers' prices). As a result, despite its declared functions, the FRDD has had difficulties in performing such routine functions as data collection, project monitoring and evaluation, and extension.
The Project Coordinating, Monitoring and Evaluation Department (PCMED) of the MOA is a body responsible for the overall monitoring in project formulation and implementation in fishery sector. Project preparation is done either by donors or by the Development Project Studies Authority (DEPSA). From the appraisal stage onwards, the PCMED becomes closely involved, so that it can effectively assume its role of coordinating project implementation.
The PCMED was implementing 35 projects in 1990 involving Br2billion. The present figure is not known. In the case of subsectoral projects, such as the LFDP (Phase 2), day-to-day project implementation is entrusted with the technical department concerned, e.g. the FRDD. Most activities at field level are however handled by the MOA regional structure. In general, the monitoring and evaluation component is not well treated in project preparation, leading to inadequate budgets.
The Cooperative Promotion and Agricultural Development Main Department (CPAD) of the MOA used to award legal status to the cooperatives. Following recent radical changes in the economic policy, the system of cooperatives has collapsed. Of the 3 500 producers' cooperatives existing in 1989, only 170 survived in October 1990, all of which were expected to dissolve after the harvest of December 1990. There is evidently a psychological resistance towards cooperatives, reinforced by an history of maladministration and unwise spending by elected officers. Since October 1991, the CPAD has however attempted to elaborate a draft legislation to provide proper status to cooperatives within a competitive environment.
The Land Use Planning and Regulatory Department of the MOA was created to optimise the use of land (including water bodies) so as to maximise the resulting economic net benefits. Most of the work of the Department has centred around livestock, grazing, wildlife, forestry and recreation, although fisheries should have been included. In the event of a conflict arising over land use, the Department is responsible for conducting a study, using if necessary economists from other departments specialising in the appropriate area.
The Irrigation Development Department of the MOA is responsible for implementing irrigation projects, most of which involve diverting rivers. Another common water control system comprises small earth dams to harness runoff during the rainy season. In the recent past, the FRDD has introduced fish fry into some dams. Among the large potential irrigation schemes, it can be noted that one potential scheme would pump water from Lake Tana.
National parks are under the competence of the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Organisation (EWCO), a section within the MOA Natural Resources Main Department. Since 1982, the EWCO is also in charge of the exploitation of the crocodile farm at Arba Minch. National parks in the Rift Valley constrain fishing activities to some extent in four lakes. The Nechisar Park, established for the protection of savannah, borders much of the eastern side of Lake Chamo and a small part of the southern end of Lake Abaya. The bird sanctuary of Shala-Abijata Lakes Park completely surrounds these two lakes, in which fishing is banned altogether.
The EWCO could have a say with regard to the trout-oriented recreational fishing in Bale Mountains, since it has the jurisdiction extended into the entire area. Yet attention should be placed on the possibilities for Ethiopia to create new market outlets through the development of sport fishing.
Any development involving water resources in the country comes within the jurisdiction of the National Water Resources Commission (NWRC). Established in 1981, the Commission is responsible for ensuring that the best uses are made of water resources. To this end a subsidiary body, the Water Resources Development Authority (WRDA), is responsible for water-related projects: design, preparation of tender documents, and supervision of construction.
The WRDA has recently drafted a National Water Code whose provisions include integrated management of water resources. The drafted code sets out rules for water distribution and rights of upstream and downstream users. In this connection, it may impinge on fisheries in that any legal entity wishing to engage in fishing will theoretically require a permit for access to the water body. Anyone proposing to use water (aquaculture, fish processing, etc.) may also require a permit from the WRDA.
The Ethiopian Valleys Development Studies Authority (EVDSA) is a semi-autonomous body outside the control of any single ministry and reporting directly to the Council of Ministers. The EVDSA was established in 1987 to develop the valleys through a sequence of logical planning steps including long-term strategies and programmes for the sustainable exploitation of the natural resources. Since its inception, the EVDSA has been the only Ethiopian body qualified to make integrated studies on the natural resources.
Subject to the availability of adequate funding, the EVDSA's short term objective is to promote an environmental policy taking into consideration soil erosion, deforestation, pollution, poaching of wildlife, drought and sometimes flooding. The Authority has developed in 1992 an integrated master plans for the Rift Valley to promote irrigation while monitoring the conservation of the environment in a cost effective way. So far, no recommendations affecting fisheries has been made in the plan.
Another institution with interest in fisheries is the Ethiopian Nutritional Institute (ENI). The ENI collaborates from time to time with organisations wishing to promote wider use of fish and fish products. For instance, in the recent past, the ENI helped the FRDD in a promotional campaign by devising new fish recipes. The ENI also worked with FPMC and the EMC in studying alternative canned fish recipes for product development.
The FRDD is entrusted with the coordination of fishery training and applied research. So far, due to the lack of means to do so, only aquaculture through the SFCS has benefitted from significant support.
The Faculty of Science of Addis Ababa University (AAU) has a Department of Biology. It includes the Aquatic Biology Unit. Since its establishment in 1983 the Unit has gradually built a capability for research in aquatic biology, notably in collaboration with the University of Waterloo. The Unit's major work, completed in 1989, has been the Freshwater Fisheries Limnology Project (FFLP), supported by SIDA. Good published information on the limnology, primary and secondary production of Lakes Awasa, Ziway, Langano and Shala are now made available.
Furthermore, the AAU has established informal links with the research project on Lake Tana implemented by EOC/DICAD in collaboration with the Wageningen Agricultural University of the Netherlands. Collaboration has also developed with the ENI on subjects linked with food spoilage and fermentation. More recently a collaborative field expedition with fisheries biologists from East European countries started to study the taxonomy of Lake Chamo and River Baro.
However, despite the Aquatic Biology Unit's accumulated experience, there is no formalized institutional relationship with the FRDD. None of the Unit's graduates has joined the FRDD, nor has any student come from the FRDD.
Complementary to the above, other research activities have been conducted with support from bilateral assistance but without much coordination. GTZ has provided funding to establish a Research Centre at the Water Technology Institute at Arba Minch, which would have included limnology studies in its programme for Lakes Chamo and Abaya. The Centre has been partly constructed but is still not functioning.
As a whole fisheries research activities appear excessively unbalanced, with priority given to fundamental research to the detriment of necessary applied research. Programmes emphasised biological related investigations and to a lesser extent gear selectivity and fish technology, thus neglecting socio-economic and marketing issues. The LFDP (Phase2) is currently conducting a programme of experimental fishing on major water bodies, to undertake stock assessment and to identify improved fishing gear and equipment.
There is no training center in Ethiopia specialised in fishery. Up to 1993, the AAU/Department of Biology has produced four Ph.D. and 15 M.Sc. graduates over the last decade, all of whom are now academic staff in various Ethiopian institutions of higher education. Recently, the Department has started a Ph.D. programme in aquatic biology with the support of Swedish universities, and some students have been sent abroad.
However, past programme for training abroad in fish technology has been rather important, in particular through cooperation with the former USSR (seven year course leading to an MSc degree). There were also agreements with Egypt for one person per year to attend short courses in fish technology. Lately, from 1990 to 1992, there was an arrangement for some FRDD personnel from Regional Administrations to spend seven months in Italy for training in fish technology.
The retraining of FRDD staff has been essentially undertaken through ad hoc workshops (fish handling and processing in 1988, fishery statistics and information systems in 1990 supported by UNDP and FAO) and fellowships abroad. However, training programmes in economics for FRDD staff are still lacking.
Fishermen are trained on the job by FRDD extension workers and expatriates from development projects.
In Ethiopia, there are no effective grass roots banking, savings or credit system. This results to a constraining lack of competition in the banking system. The main banks were set up to specialise and dominate in a particular area of business.
The Agricultural and Industrial Development bank (AIDB), which is a public financial agency since 1979, has been until recently the only recognized and specialised bank to support credit in fishery sector. Its business objectives have been oriented to state farms, state industries and cooperatives. In the past, the AIDB had no direct involvement in financing investment in the fisheries sector, although in 1978 it made a loan of Br0.6million to the newly-established FPMC. In 1985 the AIDB attempted to offer credit facilities to the fishery sector in the Rift Valley, but fishermen were not sufficiently organised for the bank to be able to apply for loans.
Early 1992, the AIDB signed an agreement under the LFDP (Phase2) to manage a credit line of about ECU850 000 (about US$1.1million) for the purchase of boats and gear for fishermen, and ECU2.1million (about US$2.6 million) for other economic operators. In 1993, the FPMC received credit for spares, trucks and 4WD vehicles, amounting to approximately ECU420 000 (about US$520 000), with a loan repayment guaranteed by the MOA. Applications have also been received from three private traders. However, although credit line is now functioning, cumbersome procedure does not facilitate rapid credit access.
The AIDB is currently revising the bank's structure along with the credit policy and lending procedures, with the support of international financial institutions. The bank, while normally requiring collateral or guarantee for its loans, would rely primarily upon the financial strength, productivity potential of the project (internal rate of return of 16% minimum), and the capability and reliability of the borrower to secure its financial assistance.
Interest rates now stand at between 11% and 12%, depending upon the duration of repayment period. With official inflation running at approximately 7.3% per year (March 1993), the real interest rates are now coherent, which was not the case for instance in 1990 where interest rates were around 5% only.
Furthermore, the Office for Agricultural Investment (OAI) of the MOA was set up in 1990 to receive and consider applications from intending agricultural and fisheries investors. Successful applicants can obtain Government land on lease, duty-free imports at project start-up and a tax holiday of duration dependent on the amount invested. Before the adoption of a new Investment Code in May 1992 to create a legal environment for private investment, a fisheries investor to qualify for duty-free imports and tax concessions had to invest on a scale not affordable for individual fisheries (400t/year). A new decree on investment was published recently, but no information has been made available.
As no fisheries law has been formulated yet there is no specific criteria on which an investment proposal can be judged. Therefore, problems are likely to be encountered in assessing proposals because of the lack of fisheries rules and regulations to provide a basis for the MOA investment licence appraisal system to be capable of implementation.
The usual method of obtaining foreign exchange to import goods is for an applicant to apply to the Foreign Exchange Department of the National Bank. Imports obtained in this way are always against an irrevocable letter of credit. The only exception to this rule is known as franco valuta importation. The individual or his relative or friend purchases the goods abroad from personal foreign exchange resources, and then imports them, paying duty at a higher rate than normal, plus the usual National Bank commission of 1.5%. As mentioned in section 4.2.3, the rationality of this system remains questionable.
In this context, particularly difficult for private small-scale entrepreneurs, revolving funds from external assistance sources played a major role in the recent past. The LFDP (Phase 1), implemented from 1981 to 1987, included a provision of ECU 47 000 (US$58 000) for use in a revolving fund for importing fishing material, to be sold on credit to fishermen. Loans were free of interest with one year for repayment. This fund was turned over only once during a period of five years.
The EOC/DICAD NGO project at Bahir Dar on Lake Tana also provided many inputs on credit through a revolving fund. However, of the Br128 000 provided to fishermen since 1986, only 9 700 had been repaid by March 1993. Considering that the prices of both boats and gear were already subsidized, this record would show the failure of such a system of credit.
Conditions for long-term maintenance of revolving funds are still inexistent due to the impossibility of converting the money into foreign currency for the purchase of spare parts and replacement of stocks.