Stakeholders from across Zimbabwe's tilapia value chain rallied behind a plan to help the Southern African nation develop its tilapia aquaculture and promote opportunities for women, youth and marginalized groups without adding pressure on the environment.
The strategy foresees a nearly three-fold increase of farmed Nile tilapia production from 5 600 to 14 000 tonnes per year in 2032. This increase would be driven by better access to inputs, services and markets for small-scale fish farmers and would raise their yearly benefits from USD 5.6 million now to USD 22 million in ten years time.
"Tilapia farming can be a driver of our countries' inclusive growth," said the Honorable J Masuka, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development at an event today celebrating sector-wide commitment to a ten-year plan for the future of Zimbabwe's tilapia sector.
He added: "This agreement will help our tilapia aquaculture take off and can be instrumental to reduce poverty and improve food security."
At the same time, the strategy advocates widespread use of best practices so that growth has no negative effects on bio-diversity and eco-systems, and will not cause additional pollution. Inclusivity is another key priority.
Efforts to increase the participation of women, youth and marginalised groups should ensure that by 2032 they occupy 40 per cent of jobs among small-scale fish farmers.
Patrice Talla, FAOs Sub-regional coordinator explained that production increases can be achieved with better inputs and fingerlings, the adaptation of good practices and support for the cold chain and marketing.
He also stressed the importance of harmonising the regulatory framework and compliance to achieve social improvements and environmental protection.