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Title: Improving Competitiveness of African aquaculture through Capacity Building, Improved Technology, and Management of Supply Chain and Natural Resources
Theme: Income Generation for Small-Scale Fish Farmers and Fishers
Lead US University: Purdue University
Host Country & Partner Institutions:
The overall goal of this continuation project is to develop physical and human capacity for the aquaculture industry in sub-Sahara Africa through new and better technology of fish production, better management of the natural resources, development of indigenous species, and responding appropriately to market demands for fish products. Results from the various investigations will help to vitalize rural aquaculture entrepreneurship by providing capacity and opening up a larger market for rural aquaculture producers. They will also help to provide additional employment and income generation that will create demand for other products and thus support the growth of other rural economic activities.
Individual proposals included in this project build on and add value to currently funded AquaFish CRSP studies. In Kenya, past CRSP research studies suggests a strong production focus, leaving many fish consumer and marketing questions unanswered. Therefore, an investigation is included to consumer preferences and developing linkages between fish consumers and production with the development of a Farmed Fish Market Information System in Kenya. A second study in Kenya looks at fish feeding efficiencies to enhance productivity in open ponds. The integrated system being examined will allow open pond water to utilize cage wastes as fertilizers, generating natural food in the pond. This is an environmentally friendly technology that permits less waste nutrients to be released to the public water systems.
In Tanzania, we are building on the current nutrition study by developing fish feeding strategies for local protein sources in Tanzania. The current research has revealed that Leucaena leucocephala leaf meal and Moringa oleifera leaf meal can replace up to 25% of soymeal as protein sources and still obtain good growth. Therefore, an experiment will be conducted to test the effects of different diets and feeding regimes on growth performance of Nile tilapia. In addition, there will be an investigation to compare the performance (growth rate, survival, feed conversion ratio and mature body size) of five different strains of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) that has proliferated the industry. There is a need for bio-prospecting for various species of tilapia to identify the species better suited for aquaculture in Tanzania.
In Ghana, cage culture is becoming popular with several multi-million investments into the technology in the Volta Lake. Many small-scale farmers are looking into the technology of cage aquaculture. The only specie being farmed in these cages is tilapia. There is concern about the market price and the viability of small-scale tilapia producers given the trends towards industry- type tilapia production. Therefore, one study will look at the opportunities and challenges to the adoption of cage culture as an alternative production system in Ghana, while a second study examines the development of alternative species with emphasis on indigenes to provide guarantees against potential biodiversity degradation that could result from unbridled spread of aquaculture species. Numerous opportunities exist for the development of new species and expansion of the variety of production systems in Ghana to provide a safety net and access to new markets for small-scale aquaculture producers.
Most sub-Saharan African nations are net food importers due to rapid population growth, low agricultural productivity, high post-harvest losses, environmental degradation, political conflicts, and periodic natural disasters such as floods and droughts. African governments acknowledge in National Development Plans that urgent poverty reduction measures are needed to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015, with most focusing on national poverty eradication strategies and improvements in food security.
Fish has always been an important part of the diet of the people of the continent but until recently, fish has primarily been harvested from the wild. Total fish output in some African nations such as Nigeria and Egypt continues to grow at accelerating rates and fish cultivation is now part of many rural agricultural enterprises. This has been encouraged by expansion of NGO developmental activities on aquaculture, improved aquaculture production technologies, recognition of over-exploitation of natural fisheries, decline in natural resources, and increased nutritional requirement of a rapidly growing population. These factors combine to make aquaculture an economically attractive agricultural production alternative in sub-Saharan Africa.
As the continent makes strides in aquaculture, there is the need to enhance capacity in value chain and aquatic resource management to ensure the long-term impact of aquaculture on rural communities and the nation. Project investigations cover the development of aquaculture supply chain for fish farmers in Ghana and Kenya, the development of catfish fingerling production as baits for the Lake Victoria commercial fisheries in Kenya, the study of pond effluents on watersheds in Ghana, the development of local fish feeds in Tanzania, and on-farm verification of tilapia-catfish culture in Tanzania.
The project vision is agribusiness-focused aquaculture in sub-Saharan Africa made possible through physical and human capacity development; new and better technology of fish production; growth of a whole chain of activities from farm to the consumer; better management of the natural resources; and increased profitability of fish production at the farm level. The whole chain of activities, beginning from management of natural resources, production and marketing of fish fingerlings and food fish to transportation and retail sales will significantly contribute to employment and income generation in these linked activities. Agribusiness-focused aquaculture will vitalize rural aquaculture entrepreneurship by providing capacity and opening up a larger market for rural aquaculture producers. Results from the investigations will help to achieve this goal for aquaculture in rural sub-Saharan Africa, and will provide additional employment and income generation that will create demand for other products, and thus support the growth of other rural economic activities.