Fish and food security in Africa

Today, in sub-Saharan Africa, one out of every two people (49%) lives on less than $1 –a day (World Bank 2004a). While in other regions chronic hunger is receding, in sub-Saharan Africa malnutrition is still rising in both absolute and relative terms. More than one third (34%) of the sub-Saharan African population is undernourished (FAO 2003)—an increase of 9 million since the 1996 World Food Summit—with dramatic and sometimes irreversible consequences on the physical, social and economic development of the communities concerned. Between 15 000 and 20 000 African women die each year (41–55 every day) due to severe iron-deficiency anemia. Vitamin A deficiency in children is common across the whole continent, contributing to the deaths of more than half a million African children annually (UNICEF 2004). Fish, as a source of “rich food for poor people”, can play an important role in improving Africa’s food security and nutritional status; more than 200 million Africans eat fish regularly. Fresh, but more often smoked, dried, or even as powder, fish is a critical source of dietary protein and micronutrients for


Heck, S., Béné, C. (2005)
WorldFish Center. Cairo. 11 p.