Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in partnership with the Department of Fisheries Monday began a five-day sub-regional training of youth and women to enhance their capacities for employment in aquaculture.
By Momodou Jawo
Currently underway at a local hotel in Bakau, the training brought together 25 participants from The Gambia, Nigeria and Ghana. It is organized under a three-year FAO funded technical cooperation programme; support to enhancing the capacity of youth and women for employment in Aquaculture and a sub-regional project titled “creating agribusiness employment opportunities for youth through sustainable aquaculture system and cassava value chains in West Africa.”
Deputy permanent Secretary Technical at the Ministry of Fisheries, Water resources and National Assembly Matters, Omar Gibba said fishing, climate change and high population growth all poses threat to sustainability of capture fisheries.
“Therefore, the surest way to guarantee one feeding himself for a lifetime is not only to teach how to fish, but to teach him how to cultivate fish by the programme drawn from this forum.”
Aquaculture, he said, is not only about providing food directly but also to provide income for the farmers to improve their livelihood.
FAO country representative Perpetua Katepa-Kalala said aquaculture is probably the fastest growing food processing sector, which she said, now accounts for nearly 50 percent of the world’s food fish.
According to her, the overall growth in aquaculture production remains relatively strong owing to the increasing demand for food fish among most producing countries.
She said FAO statistics indicate that fisheries and aquaculture are major sectors for food security and nutrition with global production of fish crustaceans, mollusks and other aquatic animals continuing to grow and reaching 170.9 million tons in 2016.
“The most recent official statistics indicate that 59.6 million people were engaged in the primary sector of capture fisheries and aquaculture in 2016, with 19.3 million people engaged in aquaculture and 40.3 million people engaged in fisheries.”
The training, she went on, is intended to enhance the capacity of both officers and farmers in developing business acumen to facilitate the transformation of aquaculture in Africa into an economically vibrant and sustainable sector. “Specifically, the training will help the participants to assess the profitability level and financial wealth of aquaculture farms as to help make investment decisions.”
She thanked the government of The Gambia for accepting to host the training, while reaffirming FAO’s commitment to deepening it’s collaboration and cooperation with the Ministry of Fisheries and the people of The Gambia.