Can Aquaculture make a difference

BY Leslie Ter Morshuizen

A brief trawl on the internet quickly shows that a large number of people across the continent are desperately poor and in need of both food and work.  Plough a little deeper and you realise that urban migration, deforestation and water shortages are also becoming headaches for African governments.  Following on the 2011 census in South Africa, unemployment and urban migration were listed as two of the greatest challenges facing the Country.
Aquaculture has the ability to directly address these issues.  As an intense form of agriculture, limited land and very little water are required to raise fish.  Cage culture and recirculating systems essentially do not consume any water but rather borrow it for a period of time.  Earth ponds do result in some loss through evaporation and seepage, but this too is limited.  Aquaculture is also best conducted in areas where land prices are not too high, which is typically the rural spots where you want to employ people to decrease the urban migration trend.  The final advantage relates to the many health benefits associated with eating fish and other forms of seafood.
So Aquaculture clearly does have enormous potential to make a difference in the lives of the rural poor in Africa, and elsewhere across the globe.  However, this Industry is skills intensive, meaning that it is best suited to being conducted via the Hub & Spoke or Satellite Grower model.  The key technical expertise, equipment, feed and seed stock are supplied to associated Growers from the Core, thus enabling people who lack the depth of skills to still participate in the Industry.  In this way large numbers of fish can be produced based on the skills of a limited number of key personal that perform the most complex and demanding tasks, whilst the bulk of the routine tasks are carried out by less skilled individuals.  In this manner Aquaculture can truly make a difference to a large number of people.

 December 05, 2016
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