Demand for fish in Sub-Saharan Africa: the past and the future.

The Sub-Saharan region of Africa accounted for only 5.5% of the world's demand for fish from 1989 to 1991, inspite of comprising 9% of the global population. This study was carried out to determine the future demand for fish in the Sub-Saharan region. Fish accounts for approximately 10% of animal protein consumed. It is prominent in the diet of the poor since cured and smoked fish is a cheaper source of protein than meat or eggs. The average per capita consumption in 1992 was about 8 kg compared to 30 kg globally. Fish is prominent in the diets of people near coastal areas and large inland water bodies and a total of 40% of fish consumed is freshwater fish. Consumption is rising in the coastal areas but falling inland, probably due to drought and overexploitation resulting in an inadequate supply. Aquaculture has not been widely adopted and does not contribute substantially to the region's supply. To determine future demand and trends, a regression analysis was carried out at the country level with FAO data on fish consumption from 1960 to 1992, using several proxies for disposable income, cost of fishery products, changes in tastes and national differences in the tradition of fish consumption. An aggregate increase in fish consumption of nearly 2.7% annually over the next few years was predicted with a strong correlation between increases in income, prices and population. Real income was a significant and positive determinant of fish consumption, even though consumption increaed more slowly than income. Given the high projected rate of population increase, the growth rate in overall fish consumption actually implies a reduction in per capita fish consumption of 0.31% annually. If technological progress can improve production and supply, aquaculture could have a significant impact on fish consumption in the region.


Delgado, C.L., McKenna, A.A. (1997)
NAGA 20 (3/4): 79-82; 97-101