By: Benjamin Bockarie*
Aquaculture as a science and professional field of engagement has experienced some steady development over the years by the intervention of new local and scientific technology in the overall management of aquatic fauna and flora species, and in totality the level of interest from the public as a sustainable agricultural approach to food security problems. Aquaculture in Africa: Nigeria, Egypt, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Ghana and other countries from the West African Region, has created more opportunities for self-employment, youth empowerment and a growth in the blue economy of African Nations. The developments of fish farming in Africa during the last two decades are summarized in this article.
New research institutions have been established in some countries, while existing institutions have been enlarged. As a result of research work and publicity, fisheries are now recognized in many countries as a vital factor in national nutritional policy and more attention is being given to their development.
The results already achieved, justify the intensification of fish culture, in order to reduce the deficiency of protein in the diet of the majority of African people nowadays.
Aquaculture as a science and professional field of engagement has experienced some steady development over the years by the intervention of new local and scientific technology in the overall management of aquatic fauna and flora species, and in totality the level of interest from the public as a sustainable agricultural approach to food security problems.
Aquaculture in Africa: Nigeria, Egypt, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Ghana and other countries from the West African Region, has created more opportunities for self-employment, youth empowerment and a growth in the blue economy of African Nations.
Aquaculture in Africa like in any other continent has positively attracted the engagement of women in the market supply chain. Amidst many aquatic fauna and flora species the predominant fish species grown in Africa are; the African Catfish (Clarias gariepinus), Tilapia (Oreochromis spp.), this is basically due to their biology (reproductivity), and ecologic adaptability to the environment of Africa and their tolerance to management inefficiency.
However, results over the years have justified that the production of fish via aquaculture efforts outweighs that of Aquatic Flora (Seaweeds) as it’s the opposite in some other areas of the world.
The production of fish have gained volume in the aquaculture industry resulting into the need for commercialization, the growing of fish commonly in ponds and tanks as a traditional way of fish farming in Africa with the recorded scale of overall production shows the potentiality of a large scale productivity by the advent of sustainable technology like the use of the Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS), Aquaponics, etcetera.
Aquaculture in Africa as a unique Agri-business has promoted the market with lots of fishery by products as used in: human food; animal feed; industrial uses; fertilizers; biochemical and pharmaceutical products.
The list of products ranges from local technology to high tech skills, however, the trend in the value chain of aquaculture products in Africa holds chance on the realization of the unique and friendly input aquaculture has on the sustainable use of our earth aquatic natural resources.
The market has been competitive; the majority of African Countries like Sierra Leone have 70% – 80% of their population reliant on fish and fishery products as the cheapest source of animal protein which calls for more
fish production attention.
Fish product markets in Africa have a successful increase in number
“Unlike in Asia where the tradition of ‘farming fish’ dates back thousands of years, it is only in the last few years that the development of aquaculture as a source of income and food has begun to be exploited in West Africa. With a suitable natural environment and a relatively stable political climate in most countries, West Africa offers an attractive investment destination for aquaculture because of its rich coastal ecosystem and inland rivers and estuaries spanning all the way from Mauritania to Equatorial Guinea and inland to Mali, Niger and Chad with diverse local species of high market value, such as tilapia, catfish and Atlantic tiger shrimp – all of which are currently being farmed and exported”. (State of World Aquaculture: 2006. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 500. Rome, FAO, 2006.).
Fish and fish products are some of the most traded food items in the world – so it’s no surprise that in 2018, 67 million tons of fish (live weight equivalent) was traded internationally for a total export value of USD 164 billion. This equates to almost 38 percent of all fish caught or farmed worldwide.
However, trade has recently hit a downturn. Available estimates for 2019 suggest that total trade value contracted by about 2 percent in both quantity and value compared with the previous year.
The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has already negatively impacted trade among key exporters and importers in 2020 (FAO, The state of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020).
The production growth level in tons per annum shows development which validates that the trend of aquaculture products holds ground for emerging fish market locally and internationally.
West Africa, with Nigeria leading the race in terms of aquaculture production level has opened the eyes of other countries like Ghana, Sierra Leone; in the sub region on the uniqueness of aquaculture contribution to food security.
*Corresponding author: Benjamin Bockarie email@example.com