Fisheries Officer at Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Mr. John Mapunda, indicated that the country is experiencing a shortage of over 400,000 tonnes of fish, which represents a business and investment opportunity for the private sector.
The announcement was made during a workshop on ‘New Opportunities in Agribusiness’ held recently, where Mapunda explained that 80% of the fishes supplied in Tanzania were captured from the seas and lakes and there are 20,000 public fish ponds that produce just 10,000 tonnes per year.
“Yet, the demand [for fishery products] is high”, explained Mapunda.
The Fisheries Annual Statistics Report – 2013 published in May 2014 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries shows that fish production reached 367,854 metric tons in 2013, increasing only by 4.7% or 16,729 metric tons in the decade 2003-2013.
However the same report estimates that the country has the potential of harvesting about 2,537,444 metric tons of fish from its traditional sources of Lakes Victoria, Tanganyika, Nyasa, Rivers, Dams and the inshore marine waters. The estimate covers only the freshwater and territorial waters.
In order to promote agribusiness in Tanzania, the government has reduced import taxes on most of the agriculture equipment including those used in fish farming, Mapunda concluded.
In February 2015 the World Bank Group’s (WBG) approved USD 75.5 million for the First South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Governance and Shared Growth Project (SWIOFish1).
The project aims to improve the management of fisheries and increase the economic benefits from fishing-related activities for families living in the coastal communities of the South West Indian Ocean region.
Tanzania was allocated USD 36 million to improve fishers’ livelihoods, expand the regional business climate and increase private sector investment in the fishing industry.