Dr. Ahmed Barrania
Dr. A. Hosam Nagaty
Institute of National Planning
Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) has a membership of ten countries covering significant and dispersed geographical area. It is sub-divided into two sub-regions comprising member countries.
- Eastern Nile sub-basin (ENSPP) comprising four countries (Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea).
- Nile Equatorial lakes sub-Basin comprising six countries (Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo).
In many African countries including NBI member countries fish does play a significant role in food security through its contribution to people's well-being and income, including foreign currency earning from exports and as a readily available food supply. According to the World Fish Center, the fish sector makes vital contribution to food and nutrition security of 200 million Africans and provides income for over 10 million engaged in fish production, processing and trade. Moreover, fish has become a leading export commodity for Africa with an annual export value of US $ 2.7 bn.
Despite increasing quantities of fish trade in the world, per capita fish consumption in Africa is projected to decline by 2020, driven by increasing population and declining incomes. To verse this trend the contribution of fish to food and nutritional security needs to be better appreciated by decision makers and supported through more adequate and coherent policies both at national and regional levels. In this context volume of fish that is traded within Africa, and its role in the nutrition of people especially in urban communities, needs to be recognized.
This document is an attempt to highlight the present status of fish production and trade in Nile Basin member countries, as well as to identify the main constraints facing this sector and to provide an assessment of the development prospects and future needs. It also provides-in brief-basic information on the characteristics and structure of fish production and trade and, evaluates the potential for inter-regional trade in fish and fish products.
The data and information used in the document extracted from various sources. These include FAO country profiles, FAO statistical data as well many technical papers and reports.
II. Present fisheries production situation :
Different Water bodies in NB region afforded very important potential for fisheries and aquaculture. These include Indian oceans (Kenya and Tanzania), Atlantic Ocean (Democratic Republic of Congo-D.R.C.), Red sea (Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea) and Mediterranean Sea (Egypt), various gulfs, lagoons, rivers (mainly Nile), the natural and man-made lakes (reservoirs) and swamps. These fisheries resources could play a much more important role in meeting increased demand for food, and in activating the economies of NB countries.
The coastline of the NB countries total 142184 km long and a continental shelf area of 212770 km.sq.
Inland waters are estimated to have an area of about 211232 square km..()
The NB countries fish production from all resources (Marine, inland and aquaculture) was 2047.1 thousand tons in 2004 or about of 34 percent of the Africa's catches and 1.2 percent of the world catches in the same year(). Egypt has been by far the main contributor (51 percent) of all NB fish production.
Inland capture production over a period of four years (2001-2004) showed fluctuation with average annual production of 1.3 million tons represents a bout 67.1 percent of the total production of NB countries, while marine capture production was estimated at 196.7 thousand tons in average for the same period which represents about 9 percent of the total production.
With regard to the contribution of fish supplies from aquaculture to NB fisheries resources in both marine and fresh waters, the increase over the period from 2001-2004 has been much more significant and much more promising for any future expansion in NB fisheries industries. In 2001 the total aquaculture production was 357.8 thousand metric tons increasing to 489.9 thousand metric tons in 2004, an increase of 37.0 percent. In 2004 aquaculture contributed about 23.9 percent of the total NB fish production. Again Egypt is considering the main fish producer from aquaculture. It produces about 96.5 percent of aquaculture production in NB countries. It is worth to note that practice of aquaculture in Egypt has gone on for many years and significant experience is gained in this field.
In fact many NB countries fisheries mainly inland fisheries are transboundry resources. The long-term sustainability of these fisheries is dependent on maintaining the freshwater ecosystems on which they depend through sustainable management plans. However, these plans require collaboration cross national and state or provincial boundaries. Capacity to initiate or pursue such approaches needs to be developed and institutions that can foster this supported.
To achieve the full potential of the NB countries fisheries from all resources i.e. inland, aquaculture and marine, the following action points are proposed:
● Support regional and basin-wide fisheries bodies to manage shared resources.
● Raise awareness amongst planners and decision-makers at regional level to integrate fisheries concerns into land and water management.
● Pursue ecosystem-based approaches to river and watershed planning and management.
● Improve capacity building (including training for strategic and cross-sectorial planning).
● Develop basin-wide monitoring and information systems and promote establishment of compatible legislative frameworks across basin and between sectorial management agencies.
III. Fish Consumption :
The average per capita fish consumption in the NB countries in 2004 was about 6.57 kg/year compared with the world average of about 16.4 kg/year.
Egypt is highest with 15.6 kg/year followed by Uganda with 13.8 kg/year. However all NB states generally have a law fish consumption rate. This is mainly due to low production levels, relatively high population figures, and shortage of financial resources to import fish as a supplement to local supplies. Furthermore, in some countries people live in remote areas with poor communications, receive only minor quantities of fish.
Partly due to limited home refrigeration, African consumers tend to prefer fresh seafood product over frozen, but smoked, dried and salted products are also popular.
IV. Fish Trade:
NB region with its 10 countries and 335.3 millions people, has so far a limited role in global fish trade.
While the world’s fish trade volume has significantly increased from US$ 116.1 billion in 2001 to US$146.8 billion in 2004 i.e. 26%, NB countries fish trade has decreased by 0.4% percent ( US$ 417.6 million in 2001 and US $ 415.8 million in 2004 ).
The total quantities of fish and fishery products exported in 2004 were estimated at 118.4 thousand tones valued at about US $ 230 million. Imports reached 323.3 thousand tones valued at about US$ 186 million. Table (3).
Most countries in the NB region are engaged in exporting and importing fish and fishery products, except Rwanda while Burundi, Congo Dem. R. Eritrea, Ethiopia have limited export trade. The major importers are Egypt with 241.6 thousand tones valued at US $ 134.2 million, followed by Congo Dem. R with 66.4 thousand tones valued at US $ 45 million and Kenya with 13.9 thousand tons valued at US $ 4 million. The NB region as a whole is a net importer of fish and fishery products.
The NB region has an unfavorable balance of trade in quantity and value terms. The excess of quantities imports over exports is 205 thousand tones in 2004, while the excess of in value is US $ 44 million.
Eu is the main and end market for the most of NB countries with total fish exports of 346 thousand tons valued US $ 206 million in 2004. That represents about 64% percent of total quantity of the NB region fish exports.
Though mostly unrecorded, processed fishery products from the artisanal sector traded-intern-regionally. However its importance is still not reported as it should be in trade data.
4.1 Major Obstacles to Trade Expansion in NB Region:
Fisheries communities are confronted by serious problems throughout all stages of handling, processing, distribution and marketing. The following are the major constraints that affect intra-regional fish trade:
- Shortage of facilities for fish handling, storage, processing and distribution as well as poor transportation means inter-state roads and border controls.
- In general, fishermen live in small isolated settlements along the shores of coastal and inland waters. This situation, coupled with high illiteracy amongst them, engenders the absence of crucial information, not only within the communities of fisher folks themselves but also between these and the outside. This hampers their access to appropriate technology for fish preservation and processing as well as their ability to access information on resource and markets. The Region is also characterized by low dissemination of appropriate techniques leading to insufficient knowledge of the fish handling, preservation, processing and distribution methods used.
- Political and civil unrest in many countries much affect inter-state as well as intra-regional fish trade.
- The purchasing power of the rural people is relatively low. Scarce foreign exchange to import fishing inputs for example petrol, fishing gears, out board engines, etc. have resulted in scarcity of fish leading to price hike beyond the reach of the poor.
- Access to credit in most countries is difficult and the repayment conditions are often harsh. Accordingly, it is difficult for fish traders who want to expand or improve their operations, to accomplish these objectives and to put more fish in markets
- Lack of harmonization and /or enforcement in trade policies and sanitary regulations among NB states, corruption, and harassment at check points continue to hamper the development of intra-regional trade in fish and fishery products.
4.2 Improving for a Better Trade in NB Region
Improvements in the fishing sector conditions, infrastructure on board and in the landing sites, roads communications networks, processing, trading establishments, and fish inspection services are the prerequisites for good quality and safe fish products oriented for the intra-regional trade. Also, a trade information network on responsible fishing of the resources, appropriate technology, demanded product forms, lucrative markets and rules and regulations are necessary in market access.
The statistical database on NB fisheries is weak and should be improved. Awareness, education, training and information of the social and economic importance of the sector will help to improve its performance and to strengthen livelihoods in the sector.
Economic co-operation and regional integration offer tremendous opportunities for economic growth enabling participating countries to overcome the constraints of small national markets, increasing intra-Region trade and providing opportunities for integrating national economies into the global economy.
Conclusions and Recommendations:
Fisheries can become an important source of hard currency, employment and animal protein in the region. To strengthen an increase intra-regional trade by stimulating production in a sustainable manner and trade development, and to enhance trade by creating awareness of market opportunities in the region to the business community, develop trade channels, trade services in support to market integration, the following measures should be undertaken:
● Organization of buyers and sellers and seminars on trade opportunities in the region to put together decision makers of the sector and made business contacts.
● Strengthening the regional trade information network to provide data on raw material, intermediate inputs annual supply and demand as well as consumption pattern.
● Preparation of a directory on exporters and importers form the region based on data collected in the market surveys and buyers and sellers meetings of selected products.
● Harmonization rules and regulations on packaging, labeling and marking of goods.
● Development of standards, quality assurance, certification and methodology.
● Expanding the scope of trade information network by establishing contacts and promoting information flows among trading organizations; such as commercial enterprise export and marketing bodies to link-up with other sub-regional institutions in the Region.
● Organization of training programmes to improve the skills of national trade promotion officials utilising existing institutions available in the region.
() FAO, source book inland fisheries resources of Africa Vol.3 Rom, 1991.
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