More than 40 tilapia fish value chain experts and stakeholders convened at the shores of Lake Kariba for a multi-stakeholder partnership meeting to measure, learn and improve sector strategy performance and coordination. Launched in 2022, 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.
“The Government of Zimbabwe believes that the value chain approach spearheaded by this project is the best as it promotes inclusiveness, economic growth and environmental sustainability, as we grow the fish industry,” said Milton Makumbe, Director in the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development. “Through this forum, we will further develop and strengthen our partnerships and map the way forward together during this implementation phase of the tilapia value chain strategy in Zimbabwe,” added Makumbe.
The strategy is a result of a two-year sector-wide dialogue, analysis and upgrading of Zimbabwe’s tilapia value chain spearheaded by FISH4ACP, a global fish value chain development initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) implemented by FAO with funding from the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
“The objective of this multi-stakeholder partnership meeting is to review progress, refine and adapt the tilapia fish value chain development strategy. The FISH4ACP project is supporting value chain actors in setting into action the first steps of this strategy with the aim to start a dynamic that will continue beyond 2025 when the projects comes to an end,” said Gilles van de Walle, FISH4ACP Chief Technical Advisor at FAO during his remarks in the meeting.
The meeting involved reviewing the current project multi-stakeholder governance structure followed by review of progress made so far vis-à-vis development of SMART activity plans that respond to the current and projected needs of tilapia value chain in Zimbabwe. Stakeholders had the opportunity to agree on areas and timelines of implementation of the 2023 activity plans informed by documented current and previous value chain experiences in the country and the region.
“We are happy and positive that the tilapia upgrading planned activities are going to transform the sector if we all commit our time to make the working groups vehicles for change in the sector,” said Garikai Munatsirei, Chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Fish Producers Association.
The meeting decided to name the multi-stakeholder partnership “Aqua-allies” and led to the creation of three working groups on: Production (focusing on alternative low-cost feeding regimes and high quality fish); Marketing (facilitating linkages and agreements between clusters, fingerlings and feed suppliers) and Regulation (carrying out policy legislation review consultations with value chain stakeholders). The meeting closed on a consensus that the Aqua-allies, are the A-Team in tilapia value chain development in Zimbabwe.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.