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Collaberation on Fish Sector Value-Chain

NORWAY - The World Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) have signed an agreement to undertake a comprehensive value-chain analysis of international fish trade with an impact assessment of the small-scale sector.

This is a follow-up to a 2004 study on the impact of international fish trade on local food security (published as FAO Fisheries Technical Paper 456). The aim is to identify ways to improve food security for local populations in developing countries through more informed policy decisions.

Exports from developing countries represent almost 50 per cent of global fish exports in value with net export revenues earned by developing countries from fish trade (exports minus imports) now exceeding USD 25 billion per year – more than for any other food commodity. In addition, jobs are created in production, processing and trade.

In a comment on the study, Grimur Valdimarsson, Director of FAO’s Fish Products and Industry Division, says: “The fisheries and aquaculture sector has become extremely globalised. Today, almost 40 per cent in volume of all fish enters international trade with production and processing increasingly outsourced at both regional and global levels. In spite of the general fragmentation of the sector, a number of larger integrated companies are emerging, in part as a response to the concentration at the retail level.

“In fish production, a large share is carried out by the small-scale sector, including over half the world’s marine and inland catch. And they employ over 90 per cent of the world’s 28 million capture fishers and support another 84 million people employed in fish processing, distribution and marketing. Therefore, it is crucial that we arrive at policies that safeguard the interests of the small-scale sector and enable these operators in developing countries to access international markets and receive a fair price for their products."

Hans Henrik Thaulow, Acting Director of Norad’s Department for Private Sector Development and the Environment, comments: “At Norad we feel that this study is important because it focuses on the small-scale sector. It has the potential to give small-scale operators in developing countries an improved opportunity to compete in world markets and to obtain a larger share of the value created throughout the value chain.”

Norad has agreed to finance the study, with a budget of close to USD 300,000 over two years. The Fish Marketing and Utilisation Service of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of FAO will be the lead technical unit.

A group of three external experts will be crucial in the implementation of the study. Close to 10 case studies from developing country fisheries will be undertaken, and for comparison, two case studies of small-scale operations in developed countries.

Fish processing and post-harvest issues will be part of the study to allow comparisons in margins between exports of unprocessed and processed fish. The study will also examine linkages between the sector’s structural setup and the margins and benefits obtained. The results of the study will be presented through various regional and sub-regional workshops and the final report published by the end of 2011.

the Fish Site Editor

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