Fisheries Sector Gets FAO Boost

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) managed Africa Solidarity Trust Fund has extended $3.9m to four East African countries to help boost aquaculture and poultry farming.

ASTF says the aim was to address food security and build capacity of rural youth to obtain decent employment in the agricultural sector.

Four countries will benefit from the funding: Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. Alhaji Jallow, FAO’s representative in Uganda, said Uganda’s potion of the money would create decent employment opportunities for the youth, especially within the fisheries and aquaculture subsector.

“Uganda will receive $1,060,000 [roughly Shs 2.8bn]. The amount will be used to increase the overall productivity of aquaculture’s value chain, improve the incomes of the youth and increase the availability of local produced fish,” he said.

Jallow also explained that the project would run for three years (2014-17), and directly boost the production and marketing segment of businesses. Under the arrangement, the youths will produce seeds and fingerlings. The programme will set up well-trained out-grower groups to teach the youth about shorter production cycles and the risks involved.

The ASTF was launched in 2013 as a unique Africa-led initiative to improve agriculture and food security across the continent. Since its inception, the Fund has already provided financing for projects in six countries – Mali, the Niger, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Malawi.

According to the guidelines, FAO will provide guidance on the development of production systems on sustainable and efficient resource utilisation. Jallow said preference will be given to supporting already existing producer groups fostering youth inclusiveness.

“While Rwanda and Burundi will be on poultry farming, Kenya and Uganda will focus on aquaculture and in Uganda we are targeting the northern region districts of Adjumani, Soroti, Gulu, and Lira, among others,” he said.

Lovelock Wadanya, the commissioner of Fisherie Management and Development in the ministry of Agriculture, said the fisheries sector needed such a boost.

“Uganda exports 18,000 tonnes of fish annually and harvests 100,000 tonnes a year. This is very little Uganda has many fresh water lakes and there is an available market for fish. So, we expect this money to be used to further boost aquaculture in the country,” he said.

Ruth Nankabirwa, the state minister for Fisheries, said the money would not be borrowed or given out in cash but FAO, working with the ministry of Agriculture, would manage it.

“We have a programme of adding value to fish, and we are going to work with the local governments of the benefitting areas who will give us more information of projects in their region,” she said.

She also said the ministry would help in digging dams and ponds.

Source : The Observer

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