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Why has Africa become a net food importer? - Explaining Africa agricultural and food trade deficits







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    Article
    Commercial aquaculture in Southeast Asia: Some policy lessons 2009
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    Globally aquaculture has been increasing rapidly and already accounts for nearly half of all food fish consumed. For developing countries, which produce 90% of the world’s output, aquaculture is a source of protein, employment, income and of foreign exchange. Southeast Asia is an area which has experienced this ‘‘blue revolution”. Total aquaculture output in the region increased from less than two million tonnes in 1990 to more than eight million tonnes in 2006. Moreover, the region’s pace of expansion has accelerated. Annual average growth rates in output from 2000 to 2006 were more than double those from 1990 to 2000. Already more than a quarter of food fish in Southeast Asia comes from aquaculture. Aquaculture matters because fish products are important in the diet of much of Southeast Asia. The population generally has a high per capita consumption of fish, and fish are a major source of animal protein in a region where levels of animal protein are below the world average. Output from the capture fisheries has increased but growth rates are slowing. To maintain present levels of per capita consumption of fish in the region, whose average population is projected to grow by 16% by 2015, requires continued expansion of aquaculture.
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    Book (series)
    Present and future markets for fish and fish products from small-scale fisheries - Case studies from Asia, Africa and Latin America. (Available online only) 2008
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    At the twenty-sixth session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries, FAO was requested to identify how trade in fish and fish products could further benefit small-scale fisheries and generate additional income and employment within the sector. Following this request, case studies were carried out in selected Latin American, African and Asian countries to study the importance of small-scale fisheries trade and identify opportunities for better integration into regional and international fish trade. The findings and recommendations of the case studies were presented and discussed at the tenth session of the FAO Sub-Committee on Fish Trade, held in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, from 30 May to 2 June 2006. In the countries studied, the contribution of the small-scale fisheries sector to the total marine catch was significant and ranged from 70 to 95 percent. The studies show that products from small-scale fisheries are largely focused on the domestic market. In Africa regional trade in small-scale fisheries products was found to be very important for meeting the protein requirements of poor people. Women are actively involved in fish processing and marketing and also participate in capture fisheries in coastal areas and estuaries as well as in other forms of harvesting of aquatic organisms. Their involvement results in increased well-being of their households since womens income is largely spent on food and childrens education. Study findings suggest that women can gain from increasing trade opportunities through their involvement in value adding activities and enterprises. The studies identified several avenues for better integration of small-scale fisheries into regional and international fish trade. Among them are product diversification, value addition, improvement of product quality and the access to new markets. However, a number of constraints need to be overcome before this can be achieved. Post-harvest losses due to poor infrastructure and lack of sto rage and transportation facilities need to be reduced and knowledge of proper fish handling methods needs to be improved. While products for export are meeting high quality standards, products for domestic and regional markets are often processed using substandard hygienic methods. Small-scale fisheries are also excluded from international markets because of the costs and difficulties encountered when trying to comply with international standards and those imposed by supermarket chains and other customers. The studies suggest that efforts should be aimed at improving facilities for preserving fish onboard, at the establishment of hygienic fish landing sites, increasing storage facilities and the supply of ice as well as improving roads, which connect fishing communities to markets. Equally important are the improvement of technical support and extension services to enable fishing communities to access appropriate technologies and information and training on quality improvement, p roper fish handling procedures and storage, product diversification, value addition as well as on packaging. Fishing communities should also be assisted in assessing their fisheries and aquatic resources and identifying those that have potential for trade in the domestic, regional and international markets. Small-scale fishers and processors can get better prices for their products by shortening the fish supply chain and increasing their bargaining and lobbying power. In this regard, the fo rmation of marketing cooperatives should be encouraged and existing associations of small-scale fishers and processors should be strengthened by providing support for institution building. There is also a need to raise awareness among microfinance institutions regarding the needs of the small-scale fisheries sector for credit and savings services.
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    Book (series)
    Promotion of sustainable commercial aquaculture in sub-Saharan Africa. Volume 1. Policy framework. 2001
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    This document examines policies that encourage sustainable commercial aquaculture in developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Commercial aquaculture, the rearing of aquatic organisms with the goal of maximizing profit, can contribute to food security and alleviation of hunger, directly by producing food fish and indirectly by generating income for the purchase of food, government revenues, improving a country's balance of trade as an export or as an import substitute, stimulating technological advances, bolstering the development of isolated regions and since it depends on private rather than public funds and is likely to use resources adequately, it is sustainable. However, some forms of commercial aquaculture can cause environmental damage and social conflicts. Stabilisation or decline of the capture fisheries, growing shortage of fish for domestic markets, export opportunities, suitable land and water and cheap labour offer prospects for commercial aquaculture in sub- Saharan Africa. Limited access to credit, shortages and high cost of feed, lack of good quality seed, and a low flow of capital investment hamper its development. Good governance, openness to trade, macroeconomic growth policies, emphasis on private investment as a source of wealth, land security, tax exemptions and holidays, loan guarantees, debt-equity swaps, promotion of large farms, producer associations, strategic planning and transparent regulatory procedures can stimulate the development of the sector.

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