The AUDA NEPAD Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology and Innovation hosted a workshop from 14-18 March to establish synergy and develop a roadmap with parameters for aquaculture innovation commercialisation. Attendees of this meeting included representatives from AUDA-NEPAD, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Stellenbosch University (SU), and AUDA NEPAD flagship programmes which included Southern Africa Network for Biosciences (SANBio) and SANWATCE.
The in-person working session was held to achieve a shared purpose and served as an open invitation to all attendees to participate in co-creating a roadmap for the way forward. Themes and industries represented at this gathering were Aquaculture, Cybersecurity, and Next Generation Health Clusters.
Africa is a net importer in terms of volume - exports of high-value species (in particular to Europe) and imports cheaper food fish to meet food and nutrition needs. Fish losses, in quantity and quality, are driven by inefficiencies in value chains, particularly in the post-harvest sector. Fish loss (physical, quality & market-force loss) is mainly due to inadequate preservation infrastructure and expertise i.e. access to energy, potable water, ice, cold storage, and transport infrastructure. Estimates of post-harvest losses at 20-25%, and in some countries as much as 50%.
The potential of aquaculture in Africa is unparalleled considering the significant inland water resources (lakes, rivers, etc.), Extensive, untapped coastlines, desirable climatic conditions for aquaculture, political will for aquaculture development, Increased public understanding for aquaculture, success stories on aquaculture investments and rapid annual population growth (sustainable markets). Considering these factors aquaculture is a priority for the continent and its development. The increasing demand for aquatic products, improved environment for investment and reduced risk of production make it worthwhile for member states to invest heavily in this sector.