WorldFish Incubator bridges the gap between scientific research and business by supporting investment in sustainable small- and medium-sized aquaculture enterprises in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. By building opportunities for growth, WorldFish Incubator connects small-scale aquaculture enterprises in Africa, Asia and the Pacific with investors seeking scalable, high-impact, bottom-line investments in aquaculture.
Through a SIDA -funded project on small-scale fisheries FAO and partners have been supporting WorldFish Center research into small-scale aquaculture investment. Studies of projects in Bangladesh, India and Indonesia suggest significant outcomes from investment, and start to show the potential for new avenues for investment in aquaculture that have potential to deliver not only aquaculture products and profitable businesses for smallholders, but also social and economic goals. Some of the highlights are provided in this article.
Analysis from research and practice in Africa shows that fishing communities are hardly reached by HIV-related services, education, and business services, partly because of the efforts and costs involved and a lack of good practice in reaching out to these often remote areas. At the same time, fish traders, especially women, travel regularly to remote fishing camps to purchase fish. Although female fish traders may be exposed to HIV, violence and abuse in their interactions and relationships with fishermen, economic necessity keeps them in this trade.
The Greater Harvest and Economic Returns from Shrimp (GHERS) is an initiative of Poverty Reduction by Increasing the Competitiveness of Enterprises (PRICE) project, funded by USAID. The objective of GHERS was to increase the productive capacity of existing farms and enhance quality of shrimp delivered to processors adding over $ 45 million to current sales, $10 million new investment and 14,000 new jobs. This final performance report presents the activities and achievements of the project since 2008.
The programme is assessing key risk factors among highly vulnerable target groups, including female fish traders, migrant fisher folk and youth, through surveys and par ticipatory qualitative research. Based on insights from this research, programme par tners are piloting business-based interventions that will address some of these risk factors such as lack of services in remote fishing camps and transactional sex in the context of fish marketing. These pilot interventions will generate viable business models and options for wider support to the fisheries sector.
Aquaculture is the world’s fastest growing food production sector. Developing countries produce the bulk of aquaculture production, and smallholders dominate the rural landscape throughout the developing world, making up a large proportion of people involved in aquaculture production in many countries.
Despite 40 years of research and development, and hundreds of millions of dollars spent, aquaculture is struggling to realize its high biophysical potential in Africa. Hampered by ineffective institutional arrangements and donor-driven projects, the substantial gains in desperately needed food security and economic growth predicted by development agencies have generally not been achieved.
South-East Asia has traditionally been the global centre of production of tropical sea cucumbers for Chinese markets. Early research into culture methods took place outside this region, notably in India, the Pacific region and China. However, recent investment in Holothuria scabra (sandfish) culture has led to some significant advances within this region. The Philippines and Vietnam have been at the forefront of recent efforts, with involvement from substantial national programs and local institutions as well as international donors and scientific organisations.
The growth of aquaculture - now the fastest growing food production system in the world - is increasingly attracting private investment. Much of this investment, however, is in larger enterprises and input services such as feed, seed and processing. Little is targeted at smallholder farmers who, as a result, continue to face constraints in accessing finance, technology and markets. In 2010, WorldFish set out to explore the business case for investment in smallholder aquaculture by examining several donor funded projects.
WorldFish Incubator is a new and innovative program designed to support investment into sustainable small and medium-sized aquaculture enterprises in developing countries. It identifies suitable projects and facilitates technical and financial assistance, offering nurturing in sustainable aquaculture through its network of contacts. By leveraging the benefits of scale, WorldFish Incubator will help the aquaculture sector deliver on its promise to meet the growing demand for fish whilst ensuring equitable supplies and access for the poor.