The Southern African Development Community (SADC) ministers responsible for Agriculture and Food Security, Fisheries and Aquaculture announced plans to increase aquaculture production in Sub-Saharan Africa to 350,000 tonnes a year by 2030, from 101, 000 tonnes in 2020.
Over the last few years, the fisheries and aquaculture sub-sector which contributes almost 9% of the region’s agriculture gross domestic product (GDP) has shown great potential especially with regards to the regions’ food security and nutrition status.
The joint meeting also assessed the implementation of the Regional Agricultural Policy (RAP) and its related programmes including food security, livestock, crops and fisheries. The conference also reflected on the input that various sectors make towards the implementation of the SADC Industrialization Strategy.
The fisheries and aquaculture sector in the SADC region employs almost 3 million people. Among other things, the meeting reviewed the food security situation in the region following challenges faced by member states with regard to drought and army worm outbreaks.
The joint meeting was attended by over 90 delegates from the fourteen member states namely Botswana, Zimbabwe, Angola, Malawi, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Tanzania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa and Zambia.
Among other things, member states were encouraged to continue implementing and domesticating the SADC Food and Nutrition Security Strategy (FNSS) as a way of improving food and nutrition security in the region. The number of food insecure people in the region currently stands at almost 51 million.
The implementation of the SADC Action Plan for Aquaculture is important because it is anticipated to reduce poverty and create employment. The centre for monitoring, coordinating, control and inspection of fisheries, which will assist member states in addressing illegal fishing will be based in Mozambique.