Support to Investment

Innovation the name of the game for Peru’s fisheries

©FAO/Jordi Vaque

Peru is using innovation to transform its fisheries and aquaculture sector – a move designed to boost productivity, open up new markets and safeguard the country’s natural resources.

With The World Bank funding and FAO investment expertise, the Peruvian Government is supporting more than 300 initiatives via its national programme on fisheries innovation.

In Lake Arapa, high in the Peruvian Andes, for example, a group of mostly indigenous women are managing an innovative trout farm. By adding a natural dye to the fish feed, they are able to boost protein levels while giving the trout its distinctive red colour. High-end restaurants throughout Peru serve this unique Arapa trout.

Peruvian fisher Karin Abensur has spearheaded another initiative. Given the low market value of abundant captured species like spiny dogfish and angelshark, Karin realized she would have to offer new products and services to become more competitive.

She founded a company that trains women in the Peruvian port of Pucusana to clean and gut locally caught fish and make intricate cuts that appeal to consumers – from sushi-ready cuts to fish fingers for children and grill-friendly cuts for family gatherings.

The national programme first took shape in 2015, when the Government requested FAO assistance to help address technical gaps in its fisheries and aquaculture sector and halt the depletion of the environment, hastened by climate change.

A multidisciplinary FAO team has supported the programme from the beginning, including in the negotiation, preparation, implementation and supervision of the investment operation.

It has promoted a participatory, bottom-up approach in which the communities come up with innovative solutions in response to real needs along supply chains.

The Investment Centre provided regular technical assistance in 2019, from developing a digital platform for the programme’s management, monitoring and evaluation system, to identifying and evaluating technological innovations in the sector like modern hatchery systems to produce fingerlings or the use of fish waste as organic fertilizer, to name a few.

The programme’s co-financing element has led to greater involvement and ownership among the communities. The programme expects to support more than 2 000 initiatives during its first phase, slated to end in 2022.

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