Zanzibar government in partnership with the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) have launched a 3.2 million US dollars (about 7bn/-) aquaculture project that will run for three years.
The initiative will see the development of a marine hatchery to support ecologically sustainable development of aquaculture in Zanzibar, leading to positive economic and food security outcomes.
In a message read on his behalf at the launch, Hamad Rashid Mohamed, Minister of Agriculture Natural Resources Livestock and Fisheries, said the investment reflected the strong partnership between the Government, KOICA and FAO
"Today's event clearly shows how our partnership has grown stronger over the last years and how mariculture sector development has become an increasingly important policy objective of this government," said Mohamed.
The minister added that small-scale farming households were responsible for almost entire aquaculture production in the island, thus providing the local population with an affordable source of protein.
This, he said, was a clear indicator of the crucial role small-scale aquaculture played and its potential to scale up. He also noted that while it created jobs for farmers - thereby increasing income - it also utilised land and water resources more rationally.
The immediate objective of the project is to support the construction and operation of a marine multi-species hatchery in Zanzibar and offer support to aquaculture farmers in Zanzibar. The operational hatchery will cost-effectively provide milkfish, crab and sea cucumber seed for outgrow farmers and other profitable aqua-farmers.
Mr Shinyoung Pyeon, Deputy Country Director for KOICA Tanzania, lauded the cooperation in the development of this project. "In 2012, KOICA undertook a feasibility study on mariculture in Zanzibar.
The results showed high demand for marine products in Zanzibar but also identified challenges. We hope this project will have a significant impact in boosting the economic growth and food security of Zanzibar", he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Patrick Otto, the acting FAO Representative in Tanzania, noted that the project was designed in a way that guaranteed sustainability.
"Given the need for an eventual uptake of aquaculture by more entrepreneurs and for the hatchery to be driven by the needs of industry and key stakeholders, the project has incorporated an exit strategy that will ensure sustainability," said Otto.
The plan, Otto said, included the establishment of a project board to advise and provide the strategic direction for the hatchery. The board will also promote activities to encourage the private sector participation and investment in the development of the sub-sector.
The board will also engage government in mariculture related activities. He underlined the need for the project to engage continuously with various stakeholders including; the Chamber of Commerce (ZNCCIA) and Zanzibar Investment Authority (ZIPA), which are both closely linked to the private sector, investors and farmers in communities.
He, however, stressed that the small-scale farmers, entrepreneurs, and traders, indeed remained important industry stakeholders due to the fundamental role they played in profitable production, development of the value-chains, and in implementing measures to ensure access to markets.
ASSALAAMU 'ALAYKUM NI KATIKA KUSHIRIKIANA KWA KUPEANA HABARI KWA PICHA NA MATUKIO, KUKUMBUSHANA YALIYOJIRI HUKU NA KULE NA KUWEKA KUMBUKUMBU AMBAYO WEWE UNAETEMBELEA ITAWEZA KUKUHABARISHA AU KUKUMBUSHA KITU, JAMBO AU TUKIO.