Blue economy promotes the sustainable development of aquatic resources for the benefit of communities who rely on them for their livelihoods and food security in Africa.
Written by: Nancy Marangu / Published by Business Daily.com
The sector endeavours to maximise economic and social benefits while minimising environmental degradation from activities within the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
As the sector sprouts, there is a need to assess and analyse the needs and existing opportunities for women youth and indigenous people while appreciating the unique role each segment contributes to the blue economy.
These two population segments, open platforms for dialogue and opportunities to foster strategic partnerships between governments, communities and civil society to advance policies and incentives that unlock the economic and social potential of marginalised groups.
These would empower them to safeguard natural resources and access decent work.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), women play a key role in the fisheries and aquaculture value chain, and yet their contribution is often overlooked or undervalued.
As a result, many women working in the blue economy sector have limited access to natural resources, credit, technology and training, mobility and bargaining power. What is more, they face discrimination in rights to land or fishing grounds. Worth noting, the existing control structures combined with financial and social capital constraints often limit women’s ability to obtain fish and sell the products of their labour competitively.
This inequality of access to fisheries resources greatly undermines women’s productivity and results in substantial post-harvest losses with negative implications for food security and nutrition.
This implies that women ought to be educated about the unwrapped opportunities within the blue economy and how it can add value as a means of livelihood.
Ideally, regional or communal awareness campaigns could be a channel for sectoral capacity building.
Additionally, governments should develop and implement gender mainstreamed favourable policies.
Within the digital space, women have to invoke their creativity and gain basic skills of social media and how to access information and that frequently shared for their consumption.
In the long-term, the place of research and evidence-based policy and decision-making cannot be overlooked since country-specific data will be the key informant of the dynamic sectoral trends.
Secondly, FAO estimates that 120 million young people reach working age annually, and the fisheries and aquaculture sector provides them with an expansive space to explore and exploit for wealth and job creation.
The long-term viability of the sector depends on promoting the youth and establishing blue growth policies that facilitate their pursuit of innovation and sustainable entrepreneurship. Investing in youth can result in better resource management, decent work opportunities and reduced waste, as young people are dynamic.
Rural fisheries and aquaculture projects can also create valuable employment opportunities for young people who often feel pressure to migrate for work.
For the youth to exploit the sector fully, there is a need for accurate data on the sector that focus on the youth.
ECONOMIES OF SCALE
The World Youth Report: Youth and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2018) asserts that national statistical offices are at the heart of the data revolution, providing key data on the population at the country level.
Dialogue and initiatives within a blue growth framework will strengthen the collective action of women fish workers and youth, amplifying their economic returns and bargaining power.
By pooling their resources, women and youth can easily access credit and benefit from economies of scale when purchasing inputs and selling on the market.
Political commitment is needed to ensure the mainstreaming of gender and youth-related issues across development and resource management agendas.