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SADC Universities’ Programmes To Be Aligned With Regional Aquaculture Strategy

January 18, 2017

By Wallace Mawire

David Phiri

David Phiri

A regional initiative whose main thrust is to align SADC
Universities’ teaching programmes and research in aquaculture with the SADC
Aquaculture Strategy in order to more
effectively support SADC Secretariat’s fisheries and
aquaculture programs for the region has been initiated.

According to experts, aquaculture development potential
in the SADC region remains largely untapped, in contrast to other
regions with equivalent resources such as West Africa, creating a need
for strengthening applied research capacity, practical skills and
expertise in aquaculture within the region.

Fisheries and aquaculture are of critical importance to the economic
development and food security of the Southern African Development
Community, with large portions of the populations undernourished and
dependent on both freshwater and marine fishing for their livelihoods.
In a bid to support the development of the fisheries and aquaculture
sector in the region, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in
collaboration with World Fish and the Southern Africa Development
Community (SADC) recently hosted an aquaculture science experts workshop,
which
drew fisheries and aquaculture scientists from across the SADC
region.

FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for Southern
Africa, Mr. David Phiri, reiterated the importance of the aquaculture
and fisheries sectors in securing employment, securing livelihoods and
ensuring food security.

“Aquaculture and fisheries generate employment
and ensure food security and good nutrition to often vulnerable
communities, contributing to the food security and nutrition of
approximately 200 million Africans,” Phiri said.

He also re-affirmed FAO’s support to the sustainable development of
fisheries
in line with the organization’s mandate to eradicate hunger, food
insecurity and malnutrition

According to a statement by Sithembile Siziba, FAO Southern Africa
Communications Coordinator, FAO has been actively supporting aquaculture
development in the
sub-region.

In support of the SADC Aquaculture Strategy, the FAO
Subregional Office for Southern Africa is reported also to be developing a
Technical
Cooperation Program (TCP) that will assist the SADC Secretariat in the
implementation of its Protocol on Fisheries. The project will
contribute to enhanced food security, income generation capacity and
sustained livelihoods along the fisheries value chains in SADC.

David Phiri also added that under the TCP, member countries of SADC and
their partners will be making explicit political commitments in the
form of policies, investment plans, programmes, legal frameworks and
the allocation of necessary resources to eradicate hunger, food
insecurity and malnutrition.

According to FAO, the expert workshop was successful in building on an
already existing
initiative in Zimbabwe on a mechanism for an “Aquaculture Scientific
Mentorship Scheme” for students and young scientists in the SADC
region to develop as professionals equipped with the skill sets
required in the industry.

The meeting also resolved to build and
enhance partnership opportunities amongst tertiary and research
institutions, and private and public sector through regional and
continental platforms and through existing national and regional
partnerships.
University Representatives who were present also
expressed their willingness to influence policy-making processes by
involving policy makers and other stakeholders in science fora. The
holistic planning and guidance tools for aquaculture which were
introduced in the workshop by resource organizations, which were
present, could play an important role and be used as tools in
development and implementation of National Aquaculture plans and
strategies.

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