Investment in Africa’s aquaculture sector could see production increase six-fold from 2.9 million to 19 million tonnes a year, WorldFish, an international, nonprofit research organization with operations in Africa and the Pacific has affirmed.
The organisation says that without interventions, fish consumption in Africa will drop from 10kg to 7 kg per capita while aquaculture production remains at 2.9 million tonnes a year. However, the group has stated that with high investment, output can reach 19 million tonnes a year.
“Africa has highest proportion of undernourished population, but lowest per capita fish consumption. Food growth and security is essential,” said WorldFish Director General, Gareth Johnstone.
Johnstone was speaking at this year’s edition of AquaVision, a biennial international aquaculture conference organised to provide a platform and network for discussions at a strategic level.
The event has been described as a highly respected aquaculture conference, organized by Skretting and Nutreco, two firms that take pride in the calibre of attendees at AquaVision, who include presidents, CEOs and directors from the world’s leading and largest aquaculture companies.
It was revealed this week that AquaVision 2018 which runs from 11th to 13th June, 2018 in Stavanger, Norway, brought together 450 attendees from 45 countries across the globe. It emerged that Africa’s aquaculture industry is greatly underutilized when it could be exploited to impact millions of people’s livelihoods.
“The African population is to double by 2050. This is why aquaculture is very important to meet the growing food demand,” Johnstone explained in a statement issued on June 12th, 2018.
He stated that over half of global population growth is likely to occur in Africa.
“Therefore food demand means fish is essential to Africa,” he said.
“Collaboration, confidence and multi-stakeholder engagement is key for aquaculture growth in Africa,” added Marcela Navarro, a UK-based industry leader known for bringing innovators, corporates, financiers and academia together to scale sustainable innovation.
Her sentiments come at a time when private sector collaboration is boosting aquaculture development in Africa.
In fact, a vocational course run by WorldFish, in collaboration with Chinhoyi University of Technology and Lake Harvest in Zimbabwe aims to promote aquaculture development in Africa by improving the practical application of university education. The move is aimed at ensuring that graduates have sufficient practical experience to work on or run a fish farm after graduation.
Increasing knowledge and aquaculture development in Africa is also the objective of WorldFish’s partnership with Great Lake Products (GLP), an organization with operations in in Zambia’s Mpulungu district. In light of these developments, Johnstone and his organisation are making a strong case for the aquaculture industry’s potential in Africa. His organisation believes that effective policy reforms can help shape the sector in a way that alleviates, hunger and poverty, while boosting interregional development.