CAMEROON – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is seeking to channel CFA21.3 billion (US$35m) to boost growth of the Cameroonian aquaculture sector through a newly launched project dubbed Aquaculture Business Development Program (ABDP).
Under this framework, the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries targets to attain an annual fish production of 100,000 tons in the coming years.
The new project builds up on success attained from earlier initiatives undertaken by the government such as the Aquaculture Entrepreneurship Promotion Program (PPEA).
PPEA boosted fish production from 5,000 to 10,000 tons a year between 2016 and 2019 and catapulted in 2020 to 15,000 tons.
With these programs, the Cameroonian government seeks to reduce the bill of fish imports. Data from the National Institute of Statistics (INS) highlighted that in Q1 2020 alone, the country spent CFA38.9 billion (US$65.12m) to import 57,008 tons of frozen fish.
COMESA and partners in quest for sustainable fish trade
Meanwhile, COMESA in collaboration with IGAD, EAC, SADC, IOC, Lake Tanganyika Authority (LTA) and the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation (LVFO) have renewed their partnership of working together in implementing a programme on sustainable development of Fisheries commonly known as ECOFISH in the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean Region.
The partnership, started three years ago after a £28 million (US$30m) finance agreement was signed by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), on behalf of COMESA, EAC, IGAD and SADC, with the European Union (EU).
Over the years, the implementing partners have been steadily implementing the agreed programs amid the challenges brought about by COVID-19.
In view of this, COMESA Secretariat hosted the 3rd Steering Committee Meeting in Lusaka during which the teams could track the progress and performance of the program and make recommendations for implementation.
Assistant Secretary General for Programs Dr Kipyego Cheluget officially opened the meeting and urged the team to make recommendations that will help the fish and fish industry sector to grow and be sustainable.
He lamented that despite the significant importance of fisheries as a sector especially the small scale and the potential to contribute significantly to global poverty alleviation, many small-scale fisheries in the EA, SA and IO region are not in a good state, and people dependent on these remain impoverished and most vulnerable to climate change impacts.
He added that, the development of the blue economy may also have detrimental consequences on small-scale fisheries that have to compete with other sectors for the use of coastal areas, inland lakes and rivers. The ECOFISH program is designed to create awareness and tackle some of these challenges.
“We are therefore optimistic that the present Steering Committee meeting will guide ECOFISH program to have special attention to small-scale fisheries and create an understanding of the concept of sustainable development and its implications to the sustainable management of the inland and marine fisheries in EA-SA and the Indian Ocean region,” Dr Cheluget said.
The meeting also commended the development of the blue economy satellite account which was recently validated that it would play major role in complementing efforts in capturing the required data.
Capturing of the data on ecosystem and fisheries habitat is expected to support evidence-based policymaking and monitoring of the marine as well as inland fisheries of the EA-SA-IO region.
COMESA, EAC, IOC, IGAD, SADC, LTA and LVFO are also collaborating in harmonizing of Monitoring Control Surveillance which is expected to strengthen capacities in the sustainable development of the fisheries resources.