Aquaculture refers to the breeding, rearing and harvesting of fish in ponds, lakes and the ocean. Twenty years ago, only 10% of fish eaten globally was farmed. Today, the figure is 50%. Wild fish stocks cannot sustainably meet growing global demand, and the aquaculture industry has grown rapidly to fill the gap in many parts of the world.
Africa is a notable exception. The potential market there is certainly growing: between 2017 and 2050, the populations of 26 African countries are projected to expand to at least double their current size. But at present, Africa accounts for just 2.3% of global farmed fish production. Vietnam alone produces around double the amount of farmed fish that comes out of the whole of Africa each year.
Per capita fish consumption in Africa is only about 9kg per year – compared to a world average of 21kg – and this will likely drop further unless local and regional aquaculture value chains can be developed. Such development is already underway in certain parts of sub-Saharan Africa, such as Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia, but more could be done.
With appropriate support, aquaculture could expand much more rapidly as a tool for rural development, creating employment and increasing the incomes of millions of people.
The APPG's latest report - Aquaculture for Smallholder Farmers - explains why fish farming is an underdeveloped tool for poverty reduction, shares case studies of success stories, and sets out policy recommendations for the sustainable expansion of this relatively neglected sector.