Unlocking the potential
of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture
in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific

Aquaculture Africa 2023: Unlocking the potential of sustainable aquaculture in Africa

FISH4ACP is driving increased investment in African aquaculture with value chain approach

Lusaka, Zambia, 15 November 2023– Africa’s aquaculture sector has great potential to help feed the rising population of a continent that is affected more than any other by problems such as climate change and malnutrition.

According to SOFIA 2022, Nigeria produced nearly 12 percent of all cultured aquatic animals in Africa in 2020, and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa enjoyed double digit growth of 14.5 percent, reaching 396 700 tonnes in 2020 from 346 400 in 2019.

Recognizing its enormous potential, aquaculture is one of the key pillars of FAO’s Blue Transformation which aims to respond to the growing global demand for aquatic foods. Among its targets are growth of at least 35 percent in sustainable aquaculture production by 2030.

To boost the sector, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)and the World Bank Group in collaboration with the Aquaculture Network for Africa hosted a Special Day on 15 November during the Aquaculture Africa 2023 conference in Lusaka, Zambia.

The FAO-WBG Special Day focused on crucial topics for advancing the aquaculture sector in Africa. It included four sessions: fostering sustainable aquaculture growth; technology, innovation and best practices; financing African aquaculture; and partnerships.

During the event, FAO and invited experts discussed essential topics related to the sustainability of the aquaculture sector and its implications for Africa. FAO highlighted the Global Sustainable Aquaculture Advancement Partnership as an ongoing collaboration aimed at supporting the sector on the continent. In the context of technology, innovation, and best practices, FAO emphasized integrated farming systems as a successful approach to expand aquaculture in countries with high potential. Additionally, FAO contributors brought attention to aquatic genetic resources and showcased information systems like AquaGRIS, which facilitate the sharing of crucial knowledge to support effective management.

“A successful transformation of Africa’s aquaculture sector hinges on robust investment, a proper framework – as provided by the Guidelines on Sustainable Aquaculture, and strategic partnerships,” said Xinhua Yuan, FAO's Deputy Director for Aquaculture. “The Aquaculture Africa 2023 conference united these elements, unlocking the sector’s potential to enhance food security and nutrition.”

In Africa FAO is helping its partners to develop sustainable aquaculture systems to ensure that production meets the growing demand for aquatic food and enhances inclusive livelihoods.

FISH4ACP, a partnership between FAO, the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), was showcased as a prime example of collaboration that is driving increased investment in sustainable aquaculture in Africa.

FISH4ACP – transforming aquaculture with a value chain approach

The FISH4ACP programme is supporting aquaculture development in Africa through a value chain approach.

“FISH4ACP is contributing to the sustainable development of the aquaculture sector in five African countries. By following a value chain approach, FISH4ACP ensures that issues affecting the development of the sector are looked at in an integrated manner, identifying bottlenecks and leverage points all the way from primary production to consumption,” said Friederike Sorg, Project Coordinator Global Programme on Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

In Zimbabwe, for example, FISH4ACP is trialling the development of alternative insect-based feed while at the same time supporting the development of the legal framework for its burgeoning tilapia sector. The programme is boosting the farmed catfish sector in Nigeria by promoting sustainable practices, infrastructure enhancements, better access to key export markets, and heightened productivity. In Cote d’Ivoire the project is instrumental in coordinating the various tilapia development initiatives thanks to the public-private multisector partnership it has helped set up.

Blue Transformation in Zambia

Zambia’s aquaculture production more than tripled between 2012 and 2020, from almost 13 000 tonnes in 2012 to more than 45 000 tonnes. However, an annual growth rate of 15 percent is required for its production to keep up with the demands of a growing population.

FAO and its partners are supporting the development of aquaculture through the Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project. FAO helps with institutional and legal frameworks, contributes to capacity building and knowledge sharing, and supports infrastructure development and the promotion of best practices.