Family-based climate smart aquaculture in Africa: Can it make a difference?

Publication date: 
8 October 2014
Author: 
Dr Sloans Chimatiro, John Linton
Organisation: 
NEPAD; Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich

This presentation covers: Why we think that fish as food and nutrition is important to Africa; Why growth in African fisheries and aquaculture value chains is urgently needed; Why this is most likely to come from aquaculture; The risks; The role of small-scale, family and community-based operations; An example of outstanding success; What can be done to replicate this throughout Africa.

Fisheries and aquaculture is important to African economies, but this is not enough, global populations will grow and demand for food will rise, particularly in Africa. Can African fisheries and aquaculture meet this need? FAO suggests not. Food production from capture fisheries is not likely to grow very much, but food production from fish farming has been growing and is expected to continue. But it needs to be better than this, just to stand still. 

Aquaculture can be climate-smart and have low environmental impact. Aquaculture can be relevant for family farms, as can be seen in Nigeria where family farms are clustered. Access to inputs, support and information is shared, effective links have been built with the market they serve. It is economically, environmentally and operationally sustainable. Eriwe Village Farms have a major nutritional impact. 

Are these results relevant and replicable? Yes they are! The success factors are simple: 1. A demonstrably viable business model, 2. Delivered by competent, serious actors. Get this right and the rest will follow. 

Africa is already on the path to expansion - but we need to accelerate the process. Significant steps have already been taken. but we need to continue to do this, and more and if it works, the pay-back is major.

Our conclusions are clear

  1. We believe that the Aquaculture sub-sector has the potential to contribute significantly and sustainably to meeting Africa’s increasing need for nutritious food.
  2. Family and community farms have a major role to play.
  3. Africa has already developed aquaculture systems that are world-class. The challenge is to roll these out.
  4. Aquaculture in Africa has demonstrated conclusively that it can be an attractive livelihood option for the family farmer.
  5. Growth has to and will happen. The combination of enabling policy and Intelligent investment will accelerate the process.