AFRICA –   The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has allocated a substantial US$16 million to the Aqua-Spark holding company to advance aquaculture operations in Africa.

The funds are designated to establish the Aqua-Spark Africa fund, aiming to fuel aquaculture activities across the continent.

Martin Hoppe, head of the “Food Safety, Fisheries” division of BMZ, announced this commitment in a press release reported by the Fishsite on December 13.

The funding, facilitated through the German Development Bank KfW, not only includes a significant financial injection but also a technical assistance grant totaling US$1.1 million.

Mr. Hoppe emphasized the BMZ’s commitment to an environmentally, ecologically, and socially sustainable fishing and aquaculture sector, citing its crucial role in transforming global food systems.

“This is why we decided to support the Aqua-Spark Africa fund to enable African aquaculture companies to improve their productivity and ecological sustainability,” he explained.

The involvement of KfW as the anchor investor in Africa has been welcomed by Lissy Smit, CEO of Aqua-Spark, who expressed joy in the potential to catalyze more value-added investments in Africa’s growing aquaculture sector.

Aqua-Spark, known for its global investments in aquaculture, currently supports 27 companies worldwide.

Notable among them are Chicoa Fish Farm in Mozambique, Lake Harvest in Zimbabwe, and Aquarech Ltd, a Kenyan platform dedicated to aquaculture.

The infusion of funds comes at a critical juncture for aquaculture in Africa, with significant room for improvement.

The industry faces challenges such as overfishing, but the growing demand for fish presents compelling growth prospects.

Over the past decade, Africa’s contribution to world fishery production has risen from 5.9% in 1950 to 8.1% in 2011. In 2010, the continent contributed 9% of the global caught supply, amounting to 7,597,427 million tonnes.

This represents a regional increase of 6.8 times since 1950 when fish catches and aquaculture totaled 1,109,387 tonnes.

While the total capture fisheries and aquaculture production slightly dropped in 2011 to about 8,995,518 tonnes, Africa’s contribution remained significant at 6% of the world total. Aquaculture contributed 1,398,091 tonnes, demonstrating its growing importance.

The increase in Africa’s contribution to world fishery production is attributed to various factors, including the extension of national Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) to 200 miles, higher fishing capacity, technological progress, and the creation of national industrial fleets.

Additionally, the high rate of motorization of artisanal canoes (61% in Africa) and fishing agreements, especially with the EU, have played a pivotal role.

Inland production, estimated at 11.2 million tonnes globally in 2010, saw Africa contributing about 2.5 million tonnes.

Leading fishing countries in the African Great Lakes region include Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania, while Nigeria and Egypt, with their river fisheries, remain primary producers in Africa.

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