The Fish, by Vasile Dobrian (via Wikipaintings).
Within the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish and embedded within a project on aquaculture development funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), IEIDEAS — ‘Improving Employment and Income through the Development of Egypt’s Aquaculture Sector’ — is a project implemented by CARE and WorldFish to secure a sustainable future for at least 100,000 people by upgrading Egypt’s aquaculture value chain.
A national ‘innovation platform’ (IP) event was organized by staff of WorldFish, the Netherlands Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Following the launch of the IP on 12 Jan 2014 and five local (governorate) level workshops (two in Kafr-El-Sheikh and one each in Fayoum, Behera and Sharkia), the national event was held in Cairo in February 2014.
Participating stakeholder groups included farmers, hatchers, retailers, input suppliers, local and national level authorities, non-governmental organizations and researchers and consultants.
A report on this has just been published. Some of the facts presented include the following.
- Despite the pressure on water, Egypt has the largest aquaculture industry in Africa with a market value of over $1.3 billion.
- The industry now provides 65% of the country’s fish needs, with virtually all the output coming from small and medium-scale privately owned farms.
- The main farmed fish is Nile tilapia and Egypt is the world’s second largest producer of farmed tilapia after China. Grey mullet and carp are also farmed, sometimes in mixed ponds with tilapia.
- From small levels of production in the early 1990s fish farming has expanded rapidly while capture fishing has remained fairly constant, even declining somewhat after peaking at the beginning of the 21st century.
- Aquaculture is also important in providing employment to an estimated 100,000 people of whom 50% are youth.
- With the exception of Fayoum, aquaculture takes place in the Nile Delta region and mainly around the Northern Lakes area.
‘Where research was once seen as the main source of agricultural innovation, under an AIS [agricultural innovation system] lens research is considered to be a “service” provided to farmers and other stakeholders within wider innovation systems. . . .
‘An IP is a group of individuals with different backgrounds and interests: farmers, agricultural input suppliers, traders, food processors, researchers, government officials, etc. . . .
The participants put high priority on the following ten issues:
- inadequate farmer representation in policy and decision-making
- poor image of farmers among government agencies
- fish diseases
- high production costs
- low quality feeds
- difficulty of obtaining a license for fish farming
- limited possibility to own land
- deterioration of water quality available for use in fish farms
- insufficient water quantity and restricted rights to use water
- lack of well-equipped fish markets/formal selling space
‘Stakeholders in the aquaculture sector in Egypt operate in a complex and uncertain environment, which requires continuous adaptation and innovation. Effective interaction is needed between farmers, business, service providers, research, policymakers, development organizations and other stakeholders for innovation to take place. WorldFish aims at enabling partners to identify and implement their own responses to emerging challenges and opportunities, i.e. the ability to bring about innovation. . . .
Diana Brandes, a global capacity development specialist at ILRI who helped organized the Cairo event, says: ‘The workshops in the governorates and at national level provided an opportunity for several stakeholder groups to jointly identify the major issues that hamper growth of the aquaculture sector in Egypt. To address the prioritized issues, working groups were established.
‘The current IP represents the following stakeholder groups: fish farmers, hatchers, retailers, experts (consultants, researchers), authorities, NGOs and input suppliers. Missing stakeholder groups in the platform include wholesalers, laborers and service providers (e.g. financial and extension services). . . .’
Read the whole report by Remco Mur: Development of the aquaculture value chain in Egypt: Report of the National Innovation Platform Workshop, Cairo, 19-20 February 2014. Cairo: WorldFish.