|Overview : |
Over the last decade, Tanzania has faced a rapidly rising demand for fish as a rising population (from 43.3 million in 2010 to 58 million in 2019) with increased per capita incomes (from US$ 2050 in 2010 to US$ 2600 in 2019 in GNI per capita PPP) ventures for improved food and nutritional security. Yet the unsustainable and undiversified fish supply has not been able to keep pace with this rapidly rising demand, driving prices up and exacerbating food security challenges, particularly for those in the lower- and middle-income segments of the population whose incomes have risen at a much slower rate.
Over the same time, Tanzania has made strides in fisheries production to meet this rapidly rising demand (by averaging between 398,000 to 480,000 tons per annum with an overwhelming 85% from inland fisheries, largely overfishing Lake Victoria, 14% from marine fisheries, and a mere 1% from aquaculture). On the one hand this trend, despite the rising prices, has improved per capita fish consumption in the country: estimated to be about 7-8 kg/year and contributing to 30% of the total protein intake. Yet, this level of consumption is quite low as compared to the global per capita consumption of about 20 kg in 2019 (Food and Agriculture Organization). On the other hand, despite this trend, there remains an estimated fish demand deficit of 480,000 tons per annum or, put differently, at least half of the demand in Tanzania goes unmet. This demand deficit represents both a serious food security issue, but also something more: a tremendous economic opportunity for substantially scaling-up aquaculture.
Today, the rising food security challenge in Tanzania has precisely given way to optimism for the immense economic opportunity to promote fish farming (aquaculture) as a means for increased food security, job creation, domestic and regional trade, and economic transformation. And while much needs to be done, the seeds for a transformative approach have been sown. Aquaculture in Tanzania is still largely a small-scale activity and usually not practiced as a stand-alone economic activity, but rather as subsistence farming integrated with other agricultural activities. Women and youth make up most businesses and jobs in the value chain as they work on fish farms but also dominate the fish processing and fish trade.