Booming business out of aquaculture is happening elsewhere in the world, compared to Africa where the sector is still at its infancy. But there is a wind of change blowing on the continent as African governments implement policies that are opening lucrative investment opportunities in the sector.
A few years ago the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) issued a declaration stating that fish farming in Africa will have to expand by 250% in the next 10 years just to maintain the present per capita consumption of fish in the continent.
While most countries have good natural resources that can support aquaculture, its development has mainly been in inland countries where fish is a staple for the population and the fish in rivers and lakes have been over-exploited.
Africa presents an untapped investment frontier for aquaculture and most countries are doing a lot to stimulate the industry. For instance, the most commonly farmed fish is tilapia, which is easy to cultivate and indigenous to Africa and has done well in world markets. South Africa actively promotes aquaculture and has legislation that discourages the importation of other species that are not indigenous.
There are challenges in the continent that have stifled the growth of aquaculture, one being the inadequate number of feed production companies that are capable of producing knowledge-based, sustainable feeds and feed ingredients. Ghana in West Africa is keen on promoting the establishment of fish feed plants to supply fish farmers in the region, while Nigeria, like most countries, has turned to aquaculture because its sold off fishing rights to other countries and needs to meet the huge domestic demand for fish.
In East Africa Uganda, which imports feeds, has found this practice untenable due to the fact that feeds deteriorate with time. The development of a local feed production industry will phenomenally stimulate the growth of aquaculture in Uganda and the rest of the region. Lack of financing is another issue due to the capital-intensive nature of greenfield investments in the sector.
The drive by African governments to stimulate growth in its fisheries and aquaculture sectors has seen the implementation of attractive incentives for investors.
Source: TradeInvest Africa Image: 2.bp.blogspot.com