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

A pharmaceutical engineer who gave up everything for fish farming

FISH4ACP’s finest: Béatrice Manizan Manzan, fish farmer in Côte d’Ivoire

25 July 2023, Ayamé, Côte d’Ivoire - Béatrice Manizan Manzan is in her fifties and her face is already familiar to people in the fish-farming community of Ayamé in southwestern Côte d’Ivoire. Her specialty is farming fish in floating cages on one of the tributaries of the Bia, a river that originates in neighbouring Ghana, crosses the entire southwest of Côte d‘Ivoire, and flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

Nonetheless, she only recently became involved in fish farming. Up until 2021, Béatrice was working as a senior executive in the pharmaceutical industry in Abidjan, the country’s capital.

With more than 20 years of experience, she had a promising career ahead of her. Then, one day, she decided to live a new adventure. “I wanted to start living my dream, ” she says.

Acting on information she received from an acquaintance, she took a fish-farming training course offered by the town hall in Ayamé, her hometown. She ended up ‘falling in love’ with the activity and discovered the immense economic opportunity represented by the fish industry.

“I got to know the fish, became familiar with their food, and calculated the ratio,” Béatrice says. “In a nutshell, I was bitten by the fish virus.”

Together with a few members of her community, Béatrice created a floating-cage fish farm. The initial investment was around XOF 900 000 or EUR 1 400. The business soon started generating profits, which were reinvested in equipment purchases.

“We believe we can produce at least one ton of tilapia a month and diversify our production by adding catfish and a local species called mabè, which is very popular in the region,” she notes.

In April 2023, the farm was selected by FISH4ACP, an initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), which promotes the sustainable growth of the tilapia sector in Côte d‘Ivoire to support the country’s goal to meet domestic demand by 2031.

Implemented by FAO and funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), FISH4ACP is working with ten pilot farms to spearhead the adoption of improved tilapia breeding and management techniques.

“I dream of seeing the entire river here covered in cages full of fish within three years, enabling us to meet the demand of the country’s entire southern region and even beyond,” Béatrice says.

She sees a future in tilapia for young people as well, but it is a demanding sector. “Fish will feed us as long as we have patience and courage.”