Kenya’s Sh6 billion-a-year fish export business is headed for a major transformation as African states move to cut the logistics burden that has slowed shipment of seafood to the European markets.
The initiative dubbed Fish Trade, is expected to pave the way for adoption and implementation of trade-friendly policies, easy fish certification procedures and simple standards and regulations.
“Trade - both intra-Africa and global- has been identified as one of the major challenges affecting growth of the the fish sector in the continent. The EU is convinced that the Fish Trade programme will significantly contribute towards the fisheries sector,” said Steve Wathome, programme manager in charge of agriculture and rural development of the EU delegation to Kenya.
Kenya mainly exports its fisheries to Europe. The EU-funded initiative hopes to expand trade in the commodity to include regional markets.
The programme which is being implemented by WorldFish, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) and the African Union (AU) will be implemented in four phases starting with generation of information on the structure, products and value of intra-regional fish trade in sub-Saharan Africa.
Its second phase seeks to strengthen the trade ability of private sector associations by empowering them to make use of the growing opportunities through small medium enterprises. This stage of the FishTrade programme is expected to focus mainly on female-oriented fish processors, traders and all aquaculture producers.
“Africa has the potential to develop its fisheries and aquaculture to play a much greater role in promoting food security, providing livelihoods and supporting economic growth. Per capita consumption has fallen, despite Africa’s great abundance of aquatic resources. FishTrade will create the foundations for a more solid, productive and sustainable building-up of this great, continent-wide, resource,” said Stephen Hall, director general, WorldFish.
The African states are expected to implement the initiative under the AU policy framework and reform strategy for fisheries and aquaculture under the Malabo declaration on accelerated agricultural growth and transformation for shared prosperity and improved livelihoods.
Hamady Diop, programme manager for fisheries and aquaculture, Nepad also said there had been increased growth in aquaculture in Africa in recent years and that the programme would be of great benefit to the continent.
“FishTrade will provide the opportunity to learn from past successes and failures and governments will be given the right information to create the incentives and infrastructure that investors need to meet local demand and penetrate higher value-added export markets,” he added.
The Fishtrade programme will also address high transport cost and poor policy implementation problems which have the growth of Africa fish trade at a meagre 4.9 per cent of global fish trade.