Unlocking the potential
of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture
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Getting more local tilapia on the table in Côte d'Ivoire

FISH4ACP value chain analysis shows the way to sustainable increase of tilapia production

8 September 2021, Abidjan – There is huge potential for increased domestic production, according to an assessment of the tilapia sector in Côte d’Ivoire. Over 50 experts came together to review the findings of the analysis and discuss ways to unlock the potential of the sector to stimulate economic growth and create jobs, while safeguarding the environment.

“Fish is the main source of animal protein for our people,” said Sidi Tiémoko Touré, Minister of Animal and Fishery Resources (MIRAH) at a workshop in Abidjan, where experts representing the entire value chain discussed an analysis of the tilapia sector conducted by FISH4ACP in collaboration with MIRAH and the University of Alassane Ouattara.

Sidi Tiémoko Touré explained that Côte d’Ivoire relies heavily on imports to satisfy its yearly demand of over 650 000 tonnes of fish. “Intensifying local aquaculture, and farmed tilapia in particular, is one of our priorities to reverse this trend,” he added.

With an annual production of around 3 200 tonnes, Nile tilapia is the main fish species farmed in Côte d'Ivoire. Most farmers are small-scale producers who rely on aquaculture as their main source of income. But as the value chain analysis shows, their production represents less than ten percent of yearly tilapia consumption of around 45 000 tonnes.

Analysing the value chain has been FISH4ACP’s first step to improve tilapia production in Côte d’Ivoire. It is part of the overall goal of this global initiative, led by the the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and implemented by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), to make fisheries and aquaculture value chains in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific more productive and sustainable.

“FISH4ACP’s efforts will help improve food security and increase employment opportunities, in particular for women,” said Stephane Brossard of the European Union’s (EU) Delegation in Côte d’Ivoire. The EU is funding FISH4ACP along with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). “But it’s crucial to make aquaculture more sustainable to avoid increasing the pressure on the environment,” he added.

During two days of animated discussions in Abidjan, the experts agreed that the lack of quality fingerlings and affordable quality feed are the main constraints to developing the tilapia sector and that most tilapia is sold fresh and whole with no processing taking place to add value.

“The value chain analysis and expert discussions will deliver a shared vision for the development of Côte d’Ivoire’s tilapia sector,” said Mahama Zoungrana, Resident Coordinator in Côte d’Ivoire and FAO Representative ad interim. “In turn, this will set the agenda of FISH4ACP’s actions in the coming years to support the government’s priorities.”

Recommendations to improve the value chain, for example by reinforcing linkages between actors and building capacity to make domestic production more efficient, will lead to a development plan to be presented later this year.