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Business Opportunities for Aquaculture in Ethiopia, Say Dutch Researchers

3 September 2012, at 1:00am

ETHIOPIA and NETHERLANDS - While catches from the countrys lakes are in strong decline, demand for fish in Ethiopia is rising. Despite the fact that much land is suitable for aquaculture in earthen ponds, fish farming is currently unable to meet this demand. This offers opportunities for both local and Dutch aquaculture businesses to play a role in improving food security. That is the conclusion of researchers from LEI and IMARES Wageningen UR, after research commissioned by the Dutch government.

By supplying knowledge, technology and funding, Dutch supportive aquaculture industry can contribute to the development of aquaculture in Ethiopia. There are possibilities for the commercial culture of tilapia in both large, intensive systems and in small, semi-intensive systems.

However, this requires availability of land, water, knowledge and markets and the right policy conditions. Dutch companies could help by supplying products, technology, knowledge and investment. The Netherlands has large, international companies in the field of fish feed and veterinary medicines, as well as smaller companies which can build complete aquaculture businesses or supply culture and water treatment systems.

In the report, LEI and IMARES make several practical recommendations to the Dutch Embassy in Ethiopia. One of these is the importance of raising awareness for aquaculture opportunities in Ethiopia. Another option is to explore the possibility of producing high quality fish feed in Ethiopia.

It is also worth supporting pioneer fish farms in the initial stage of development with action research, involving both Dutch and Ethiopian knowledge institutes, businesses and private sector associations. Although rising demand would suggest market potential, it is important to analyse what market segments exist and the consumer requirements in those specific segments.

Building a number of intensive, commercial farms with support from government and industry is crucial for the development of aquaculture in Ethiopia. Private support can thus serve as a catalyst and speed up the development of the whole aquaculture business in Ethiopia.

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