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Broad alliance agrees on ambitious plan to increase tilapia production in Côte d’Ivoire

FISH4ACP unfolds strategy for a stronger and more sustainable tilapia sector

10 December, Abidjan – Unlocking the potential of Côte d’Ivoire’s tilapia sector requires more and better feed and fingerlings, experts and stakeholders said after two days of talks on an ambitious plan to increase tilapia production to better match domestic demand. The plan also calls for a stronger and more sustainable value chain that creates employment and safeguards the environment. 

“Fish is the most important source of healthy food in Côte d’Ivoire,” said Sidi Tiémoko Touré, Minister of Animal and Fishery Resources (MIRAH) at the workshop in Abidjan, where stakeholders and experts involved in tilapia production discussed future development of the sector. “Our aim is to be more self-sufficient in meeting fish consumption of 650 000 tonnes per year, so we need to intensify local aquaculture production, and farmed tilapia in particular,” he added.  

The meeting was organised by FISH4ACP, a global initiative led by the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and implemented by FAO to make fisheries and aquaculture value chains in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific more productive and sustainable. FISH4ACP’s work to improve tilapia production in Côte d’Ivoire kicked-off this year with an analysis of the value chain, which led to the development plan presented during the workshop.  

 “We welcome the efforts of the Ivorian authorities to increase local aquaculture production while ensuring good fisheries management and minimizing the negative effects on marine fauna," said Massimo Scalorbi, Head of Cooperation of the European Union in Ivory Coast. He added: “This is very much in line with FISH4ACP’s focus on economic growth, social equity and environmental sustainability.” 

“We support FISH4ACP’s vision for a stronger and more sustainable tilapia sector,” said Benjamin Laag of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), which is funding FISH4ACP along with the European Union. “While this will help Côte d’Ivoire to become more self-reliant, it will also improve food security and increase employment opportunities,” he added. 

During the meeting over 60 experts and stakeholders agreed that the lack of quality fingerlings and affordable quality feed are the main constraints to raise Nile tilapia production in Côte d’Ivoire. They underlined that an increase to nearly 80 000 tonnes by 2031, as agreed at the workshop, cannot happen without reinforcing the structure of the value chain and by making it more sustainable. 

“This is an ambitious agenda for the future we want for tilapia in Côte d’Ivoire,” said Samy Gaiji, FAO’s representative in Côte d’Ivoire. “However, given the government’s political will and the strong support of our partners, we believe that we will be able to achieve this together.”  

FISH4ACP will lead the way over the next four years, he explained. The project will focus its efforts to strengthen the value chain on reinforcing capacities of actors and organizations all the way from the farm to the market. Mr Gaiji added that better access to finance for Côte d’Ivoire’s tilapia farmers is key to make this happen. He also pointed at production differentiation of locally produced tilapia as a way to add value, and said that a digital tracking and certification system for tilapia would be developed to make the sector more sustainable.