As a well-known Chinese saying goes, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
This proverb well describes a Chinese fish farming workshop offered by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs to help develop aquaculture in Egypt.
Reham Adel, a young woman in her late 20s, is one of 50 trainees registered to attend the 21-day workshop.
At a large hall in Suez Canal University in Ismailia province, northeast of the capital Cairo, Adel is waiting for her first aquaculture class given by a Chinese instructor.
A red banner reads “Training Course on Live Aquafeed Production and Processing in Egypt 2018” is hanging on top of the stage of the lecture hall. Trainees are enthusiastic about the course and are eager to learn new techniques.
“We would like to learn new aquaculture techniques from the Chinese expertise in fish farming through this training course, for China is one of the very advanced countries in this field,” said Adel, who is a demonstrator at the Fish Farming and Technology Institute of the Suez Canal University.
“At an early stage of a fish life cycle known as ‘fry,’ the fish depends on live feed such as algae and zooplanktons. So, the course teaches us how to produce large amounts of such live aquafeed to help complete the life cycle of the fish from scratch,” Adel explained.
She said that the new techniques will make the live aquafeed production cheaper with a higher quality and a longer survival rate.
The Chinese workshop includes theoretical lectures as well as practical courses on aquaculture.
“The course is very important as it teaches the production of live aquafeed, on which marine aquaculture is generally based and whose cost determines the success of a fish farming project,” said Wahid Mamdouh, an aquaculture engineer and also one of the trainees.
The fish farming workshop is organised by the Foreign Economic Cooperation Center of China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs under the sponsorship of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.
At the opening ceremony of the workshop, Han Bing, minister-counselor with the Chinese embassy in Egypt, said it’s the first time that Chinese experts are lecturing on aquaculture in Egypt. The aim is to enlarge the number of trainees to join the program instead of sending a few to study in China.
“Through their interaction, Chinese lecturers and Egyptian students can exchange knowledge and ideas and cooperate for the improvement of people’s lives,” said the Chinese diplomat.
You Yang, a research fellow of China Freshwater Fisheries Research Center and master’s supervisor at Nanjing Agricultural University, is one of the lecturers of the special training course in Egypt.
“The course will address the actual needs of the trainees … and will focus on fish, shrimp and crab farming techniques and living aquafeed production and processing,” You told Xinhua.
“The programme will strengthen the capability of Egypt in the fish farming field, and there is a good chance for Egypt to improve its aquaculture techniques that are similar to those of China in the past,” he added.
Egypt has two large fish farms. One belongs to the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and another to the Armed Forces. The expansion in the field aims at boosting food security and reducing fish imports in the most populous Arab country.
Al-Araby al-Serwy, a board member of Suez Canal Fish Farming and Aquaculture Company, said that the Chinese workshop is helpful in boosting the field in Egypt where fish farming represents 75 percent of the total local production.
“Feed alone represents about 70 percent of the fish farming cost, so if we manage to increase our live aquafeed production based on the Chinese training programs and other studies, we will cover a long distance in reducing the cost of feed and, in turn, the cost of fish,” Serwy told Xinhua on the sidelines of the workshop opening ceremony.
Magda Hagras, vice president of Suez Canal University for graduate studies and research, described the cooperation between her university and China as beneficial.
“China is a helpful and cooperative country that always tries to support Arab and developing states through providing them with Chinese technological and development expertise,” Hagras said.