Mozambique’s fisheries and aquaculture sector received a major boost earlier in February when the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) announced USD 49 million (EUR 45 million) in financing for small-scale aquaculture businesses.
The funding comes as the country strives to reduce poverty levels and increase earnings for small and medium fishing operations in the former Portuguese colony. IFAD said on 10 February the financing agreement, under the Small-scale Aquaculture Development Project (PRODAPE), includes a USD 8.6 million (EUR 7.9 million) loan and a USD 34.4 million (EUR 31.7 million) grant for at least 88,000 small-scale aquaculture farmers.
The agreement – which was signed by Donal Brown, Associate Vice-President of the IFAD’s Program Management Department, and Victor Gomes, Vice-Governor of the Bank of Mozambique – also provides for an additional USD 3.1 million (EUR 2.8 million) from the government and another USD 2.9 million (EUR 2.6 million) from the aquaculture farmers.
The program will, among other targets, ensure good nutrition in the country – especially through encouraging the consumption of proteins, promoting sustainable practices that mitigate the impact of climate change, encouraging the deployment of sustainable fish production technologies, and improving market structure for fish feeds and fingerlings, particularly among small-scale aquaculture producers.
Currently, Mozambique, with a per capita fish consumption of 11.4 kilograms, is implementing its 2010 – 2019 Fisheries Master Plan, with objectives including the revamping of aquaculture, in addition to improving food security, reducing poverty levels, and strengthening the skills levels of the small-scale fishing communities.
However, the country’s aquaculture segment faces challenges, including acute shortages of fish feed and seeds. It also faces constraints in accessing financial services to support the industry, which in turn is undermining the country’s push to achieve international nutritional levels and increase fish and fish product exports to regional and global markets.
“This USD 49 million project aims to move the aquaculture sector from a subsistence basis to a commercial level, underpinned by the involvement of small-scale farmers, particularly women and unemployed young people ready to embrace ‘aquapreneurship,’” IFAD said.
Mozambique’s total fish capture was estimated at 329,320 tons in 2017, with the largest share of approximately 232,300 tons coming from marine fisheries. The country has reported increased marine captures attributed to “a new data collection system for artisanal fisheries.”
According to the a previous World Bank report, Mozambique’s aquaculture, especially tilapia production, has been on a recovery path since 2009, when 490 tons of fish was reported to have been produced, which increased to 1,800 tons by 2017.