Opportunities for Dutch - Tanzanian public and private sector cooperation in the aquaculture sector

Due to a strong growth in population, urbanization, increased wealth and changing eating patterns, demand for protein-rich, safe and sustainable food increases. Fish is a very efficient form of animal protein in terms of feed, water usage and emission. Sustainable production of fish could therefore be an interesting solution for the East African market, creating opportunities for both local and foreign investors. The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Tanzania has commissioned a study to identify the key development opportunities for Tanzania’s aquaculture sector and the potential for Dutch public and private sector involvement in addressing these opportunities. The study suggests an integrated Dutch-Tanzanian public and private sector approach based upon the identified needs of Tanzanian stakeholders.

Vast market potential for locally farmed fish

Tanzania has an attractive potential for aquaculture; its climate is ideal for farming indigenous fish species including tilapia and African catfish. These are the favored species of Tanzania’s lower- and middle-income classes. According to the study, market demand for fish is growing rapidly due to factors including population growth and rising incomes. However, supply from wild catch is dwindling as natural water bodies are overfished and in general unregulated. The Ministery of Livestock and Fisheries in Tanzania estimates that this results in an estimated fish demand deficit of a staggering 480,000 tons per annum, which offers an attractive opportunity for those looking to establish local fish farming for the local market.

fish farm with hapas in Tanzania (picture by Wouter van Vliet, Larive International)

Local production

Today, aquaculture in Tanzania is mostly a small-scale activity and usually not practiced as a stand-alone economic activity, but rather as subsistence farming integrated with other agricultural activities. According to Fisheries Statistics from the department of Fisheries Development of the Tanzanian government, Tanzanian farmers produced around 3,240 tons of fish in 2014, growing from 1,522 tons in 2007, representing a small but growing sector. The study provides a more complete overview of the status of local fish farming in Tanzania. The Tanzanian government actively supports sector growth by implementing a dedicated aquaculture development policy focused on commercial fish farming for both export and the domestic market. Despite its potential and widely recognized importance, there are several opportunities to further boost the development of the sector.

fish farm Tanzania (Picture by, Wouter van Vliet, Larive International)

Opportunities for Dutch public and private sector involvement

The study provides several areas of opportunities for investment and support by Dutch public and private sector stakeholders in Tanzania’s aquaculture sector:

  • Improvement of practical and market-oriented capacity among both educational (training) institutes and private sector operational staff.
  • Improvement of aquaculture inputs accessibility and affordability through improved control over fish gene pool, professionalisation of hatcheries and conducive feed import regime.
  • Upgrading of farming technologies through introduction of more knowledge and capital-intensive production systems and improved farm record keeping.
  • Improvement of market access for fish farmers by improved market differentiation of farmed fish, processing and consistent and increased supply to markets.
  • Enabling access to finance by development of aquaculture business cases and business planning skills.
  • The regulatory framework offers room for improvement with regards to import regulation, simplification of licencing and permits for farmers and investors, zoning of cage farm activity and VAT regimes for feeds.

Dutch public-private approach

According to the study, improving Tanzania’s aquaculture sector requires a holistic approach focused on increase in domestic productivity in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible way. This can be realized through the introduction of more knowledge and capital-intensive production systems adapted towards local circumstances, in direct combination with selective (vocational) training and technical advice. The enabling environment can be upgraded by providing a conducive regulatory framework, market oriented educational institutes and an established private sector organization. The recommended public-private approach has proven very successful in other aquaculture development programs in East Africa, such as as FoodTechAfrica. .

About the Aquaculture Impact Cluster

In 2013, a group of Dutch private and public sector organisations saw the potential for aquaculture in east Africa and they formed the FoodTechAfrica (LINK) partnership. Along the value chain, investments were needed to unlock the sector’s potential. FoodTechAfrica partners established the first quality aquafeed factory in East Africa, the first recirculation aquaculture farms, and rolled out a comprehensive aquaculture training program. After the successes in Kenya, it was decided to expand and invest in Tanzania, which also has a great potential for fish-farming. In Tanzania, the consortium of companies started in a public-private partnership together with the Embassy of the Netherlands in the beginning of 2019. This partnership is called the ‘Aquaculture Impact Cluster.’ Currently, the consortium is developing a demo-farm in Kigamboni, Dar es Salaam based upon the Recirculation Aquaculture System (RAS). To learn more about the Impact cluster, please click here.

Interested to learn more? Follow activities of the impact cluster on the Larive’s website: https://www.larive.com/ppp/foodtechafrica-tanzania/ or contact Bart Malaba: bart.malaba@larive.com or Theonestina Mutabingwa of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands at dar-lnv@minbuza.nl

Would you like to learn more about our activities or do you have any questions? Please send an email to nai-lnv@minbuza.nl. We give regular updates on developments in the agriculture sector in Tanzania on this website and on our Twitter @NLAgriKenya. If you would like to receive more information about the agribusiness in Tanzania please subscribe to our newsletter, by e-mailing us dar-lnv@minbuza.nl.