Photograph — Inter Press Service

African Development Bank Group has approved a $13.2 million financing package for fisheries and aquaculture development project in Malawi.

The sustainable fisheries, aquaculture development, and watershed management projects will provide infrastructure for increased productivity in fishery and also improve market access. These projects are expected to contribute to nutritious diets, boost employment along the fish value chain, and build climate resilience along major watersheds.

The estimated cost of the project is $14.57 million, comprising an ADF loan of $8.98 million and a grant of $4.21 million, while the Malawi government will contribute $1.38 million.

Furthermore, the project is expected to directly benefit 20,000 residents around the surrounding lakeshore and inland areas, as well as 250,000 fish processors, vendors, retailers, and interns, many of whom are youth and women along the value chain.

Most of the interventions will cover 11 lakeshore and three non-lakeshore districts, including the entire basins of Lake Malawi and Chilwa, part of the Shire River system, and selected upland areas using an ecosystem approach. Other expected benefits include sustained income from fisheries, increased recovery of Chambo stocks and higher incomes from value addition (processing, storage and related marketing activities).

The increased access to fish protein consumption at the household level will improve nutrition in the region as it contributes to 40 percent of  households protein consumption

Dr. Ahmed Khan, the Bank’s Blue Economy Flagship Coordinator said, “The Bank is committed to supporting our regional member countries to make use of their living fisheries resources. This is crucial for building healthy diets and local consumption, facilitating regional trade and improving the quality of life especially for youth and women along the fish value chain.”

Malawi is a landlocked country but approximately 20 percent of the countries land area is covered by water, supporting near 15 percent of the global fish water biodiversity. Fishery has been estimated to contribute approximately 62,000 primary sector jobs and about 350,000 secondary sector jobs and as such is an important livelihood for many Malawians.

The demand for fish in Malawi is very high, and as a result, nearly all capture is locally consumed. There is an active trade of aquarium and exotic fish, with export countries ranging from the EU to South Africa, Japan, and the United States.

The approved resources will promote Malawi’s national development as outlined in its Malawi National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy, its Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS III) and Malawi’s Vision 2020.

Written by Faith Ikade.

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