FAO Regional Office for Africa

Fish farming, potential driver for poverty eradication in East Africa

Stakeholders launch programme to boost regional fish farming industry

Fish farming can improve regional nutrition and food security and provide sources of income for rural communities, Photo: ©FAO/Karel Prinsloo

28 May 2018 Arusha (Tanzania) - Fish farming has the potential to be a key driver for poverty eradication and sustainable development in East Africa.

It will not only help improve regional nutrition and food security but also provide new sources of rural income and contribute to conserve wild resources of water bodies in the region.

Head of Delegation of the European Union to Tanzania and the EAC, Roelandvan de Geer made the remarks at the launch of a two-day stakeholders’ workshop on regional aquaculture, under the title 'Stakeholders workshop on the EU-EAC TRUE-FISH Programme' held in Arusha, Tanzania.

The TRUE-FISH programme, with a total estimated cost of EUR 10 150 000 and a total amount of European Development Fund contribution of EUR 10 000 000 over 5 years (2019-2024), aims to contribute in developing competitive, gender equitable and sustainable commercial aquaculture in the Lake Victoria basin.

The workshop was co-hosted by the East African Community (EAC), the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO), and the EU Delegation to Tanzania and to the EAC, and was supported by technical partners namely the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and WorldFish.

The objectives of the workshop are to present and discuss the final design of the EU funded programme to the key stakeholders, place the programme in the context of wider fisheries and aquaculture topics of interest for the region, including on gender, and hold thematic working sessions to kick-off consultations for the preparation of implementing projects.

Fred Kafeero, FAO Representative in Tanzania, said the FAO has a long history in East Africa, particularly in fisheries and aquaculture on the Great Lakes.

"Through its Sub-Committee for the Management of Lake Victoria, the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization was established and inaugurated. As such, the link between FAO and LVFO is a lasting one. Likewise, FAO has strong links with WorldFish and has benefited from a long-standing relationship with the EU not only in fisheries and aquaculture, but also in all aspects of food and agriculture-related aspects in rural development and beyond. All the right elements are there for a successful programme.”

Country Director for Zambia and Tanzania of WorldFish, Sloans Chimatiro, indicated that “in the face of climate change, sustainable aquaculture practices offer water, energy and feed conversion efficiencies superior to any other domesticated animal food production system”.

Godfrey V. Monor, Executive Secretary of LVFO, said that catches and biomass of fish in the lake and in particular Nile perch and Nile tilapia have declined and stressed that this has been accompanied by a corresponding reduction in per capita fish consumption.
Consequently, the EAC Partner States are making efforts to put in place mechanisms to increase fish production through aquaculture.

The LVFO, a specialized Institution of the EAC, coordinating the management and development of fisheries and aquaculture in the region, is spearheading this effort. LVFO has been instrumental in the development of the EAC Regional Strategy and Implementation Plan (2015–2020) for sustainable aquaculture and other documents providing inter alia for the establishment of harmonised legal frameworks.

The workshop will be combined with the EU Day celebrations under the theme 'Gender and aquaculture'.

The EU Day (9 May) celebrates peace and unity in Europe through the anniversary of the historical 'Schuman declaration' in 1950 when the French foreign minister, Robert Schuman, set out his idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe, which led in 1957 to the Treaty of Rome one of the constitutional basis of the European Union.