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Milk, meat, eggs and fish are key components of a balanced and nutritious diet. In developing countries with inland or coastal waters, fish is the dominant source of animal protein and supplies critical micronutrients. Accounting for more than 50% of the animal protein in the diet for 400 million poor people in Africa and South Asia, fish provide both quality animal protein and critical micronutrients. This high quality nutrition is especially important for vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women and people living with HIV/AIDS.
Driven by rising population, increasing wealth and urbanization, especially in the developing countries of Asia, there has been an explosive growth in demand for these animal source foods.
Globally, about 47% of fish for human consumption is now supplied by aquaculture. With most wild capture fisheries either fully or over-exploited, achieving large scale, environmentally sustainable increases in supply of fish to poor consumers will require further aquaculture growth. This is especially true for Africa where aquaculture currently makes a much lower contribution to fish supply than the rest of the world. African aquaculture currently produces less than 2% of global aquaculture production, representing less than 5% of Africa’s fish.

Research focus

WorldFish is a key partner in the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish. Under this program ILRI, WorldFish, CIAT and ICARDA will work with partner organizations, governments and the private sector to achieve large scale, environmentally sustainable increases in the supply of affordable fish for poor consumers in developing countries.

The program features six themes:
  1. Animal Health
  2. Genetics & Breeding
  3. Feeds & Fodder
  4. Value Chain Development
  5. Targeting Sustainable Interventions
  6. Gender and Learning
Nutrition safety, Environment, and Employment are important cross-cutting issues.

Where we work

The program is currently supporting fish value chain development in Egypt, a country with significant fish consumption and an aquaculture sector which is among the 10 largest globally and  has the potential for effective interventions, upgrading and intensification.
The program will initiate fish value chain work in Bangladesh and scope for a third fish value chain in an African country south of the Sahara, during the second half of 2013.


The program aims to deliver annual production growth rates of over 10% in priority countries, leading to gender equitable increases in per capita consumption of over 20% for 20 million poor consumers by 2018.