Tanzania has signed a new agreement with International Fund Agricultural Development (IFAD) enabling the country to produce up to 25 million tilapia and 10 million catfish fingerlings annually.

The undertaking to produce the fingerlings at Tanzania’s 15 aquaculture development centers is a component of the USD 77.4 million (EUR 63.9 million) Agricultural and Fisheries Development Programme (AFDP), an initiative to support rural households address increasing effects of climate change on agricultural productivity, food security, nutritional levels, and resilience among small-scale rural producers.

Tanzania currently relies on fish for almost one-third of the animal protein needs of its 60 million people. The Tanzanian government has set a national target of increasing the country’s per capita fish consumption from 8.5 to 10.5 kilograms, but that will require increasing its total fisheries production by 321,000 metric tons. The new agreement between the government and IFAD is a major boost towards achieving the increased fish production, the Tanzanian government said in a statement.

IFAD, which has been active in Tanzania’s rural development since 1978, having cumulatively invested USD 402.5 million (EUR 332.4 million), will provide a USD 58.8 million (EUR 48.6 million) loan for the implementation of the new AFDP program.

The Tanzanian government and the private sector in the country are providing the remaining USD 7.7 million (EUR 6.4 million) and USD 8.4 million (EUR 6.9 million), respectively, while the beneficiaries of the AFDP program – 50 percent of them women and youth – will contribute USD 2.4 million (EUR 1.98 million).

Public-private-producer partnerships will, under the AFDP program, get support “to engage those involved in deep-sea fishing and reduce post-harvest losses,” according to IFAD.

“Participants of the project will be able to access affordable financial services from the smallholder credit guarantee scheme initially funded by IFAD through Marketing Infrastructure, Value Addition, and Rural Finance Support Program,” IFAD said.

Demand for fingerlings in Tanzania has always exceeded supply, with the current output of 21 million fingerlings supplying less than a quarter of the country’s demand, estimated at around 86 million fingerlings. Tanzania has experienced a dramatic rise in demand for fish from its populace, and is now predicting a need for at least 250 million fingerlings by 2025 according to IFAD.

The country is fish deficient with estimated production of 362,932 metric tons, with 85 percent of its output coming from freshwater lakes such as Lake Victoria. Alternatively, aquaculture – a key beneficiary of the IFAD funding – currently contributes just 1 percent of that total.

Photo courtesy of IFAD

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