Wasteful Ahly suffer defeat against Pyramids FC to drop off top spot    Train derails in Egypt's Kafr El-Sheikh, no major injuries: Officials    The people want peace, but not 'Talibanisation of the country, Afghanistan Chief Executive says    Egypt's FM orders preparations be completed ahead of overseas referendum    Egypt's Mufti urges citizens to take part in referendum on constitutional amendments    Death toll exceeds 200 in Tripoli fighting: WHO    Iraqi PM Abdul Mahdi met Saudi crown prince in Riyadh    Guardiola vows Manchester City will 'stand up' in title race after 'cruel' exit    Olympics:Tokyo ticket lottery to launch for domestic sales on May 9    Egypt's Sisi pardons prisoners on Sinai Liberation Day    Moody's upgrades Egypt's rating to B2, expects more economic growth    At least 29 killed in Madeira when tourist bus veers off the road    Theatre on the border    The Brotherhood goes to Washington    Reining in inflation    The economic way ahead    Towards the referendum    Expected exit    Spectacular scene, favourable draw    The final draft    Flight prices go sky high    Sudanese demand ‘legitimate change'    Escaping expenses    ‘I don't want sympathy'    Pasta vegetable salad    Bundeli Kala Parishad troupe's Indian folk dance show at Al-Gumhouriya Theatre is a must go    Paris' Notre Dame    Screen blues    Towards the referendum    SODIC nets EGP 500m contractual sales from Allegria Residence project    Egypt's trade exchange with India likely to hike by over 128% to reach $8bn    Qatar calls for activating arms embargo against LNA    Two refereed to Mufti for death penalty over Helwan Church attack    World leaders react to Notre Dame Cathedral fire tragedy    Parliament approves constitutional amendments allowing Al-Sisi extra term till 2030    WFC appoints Mohamed Abdel Salam as chairperson    Ministry of Health denies halting postgraduate medical training    Syria fuel shortages, worsened by US sanctions, spark anger    Featuring Egypt's rightful place under the Sun    First Egyptian integrated dance show spotlights charm of dancing with disability    Vatican willing to offer technical know-how to help restore Notre-Dame    German Football Ambassador 2019: Klopp, Kroos, Podolski on the list    Police forces foil militant attack in South Sinai's Ayon Moussa    Current president shall be allowed to run for one more 6-year term ending 2030: Parliament    Al-Azhar condemns racist chants against Liverpool's Mohamed Salah    Mentally frail Borussia Dortmund relying on individual brilliance    Egypt's first heavy metal band returns to Cairo after 6 years of absence    In the company of the philosopher Roshdi Rashed in Paris    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





Egypt: Fishing for opportunities
Published in Ahram Online on 14 - 08 - 2018

Fish has long been a cheap source of protein for many Egyptians, with tilapia, known as bolty, costing less than 15 per cent of the price of red meat and around a quarter of the price of a kg of chicken.
According to WorldFish, an international non-profit research organisation, fish accounts for 25.3 per cent of the average Egyptian household's protein intake.
With the River Nile and coasts overlooking the Mediterranean and Red Seas, people often ask why there never seems to be enough fish.
The truth is that all these areas together only provide around 25 per cent of total fish production, and most of the fish that Egyptians consume is produced on fish farms.
Aquaculture production in Egypt in 2014 came to around 1.1 million metric tons, accounting for around three-quarters of the country's total fish production, according to data from WorldFish. Most of this is consumed in the country.
Aquaculture had been practised in Egypt for millennia and since the Ancient Egyptian dynasties.
One drawing on the wall of a Pharaoh's tomb dating back to 2,500 BC shows a man harvesting tilapia from an earthen pond, documenting the first aquaculture activity in history, according to a paper entitled “Aquaculture in Egypt: Insights on the Current Trends and Future Perspectives for Sustainable Development”.
Tilapia is the most farmed species of fish in Egypt, said Harrison Karisa, country director for Egypt and Nigeria of WorldFish, which, headquartered in Penang, Malaysia, and with offices in Asia, Africa and the Pacific, works on improving livelihoods through fishing and aquaculture.
The organisation carries out research in Egypt, Nigeria, Zambia and Tanzania that can be scaled up for implementation elsewhere.
It has been working in Egypt since 1997 and has helped to improve tilapia stock. “This work has helped to improve the production of fish in Egypt,” Harrison said.
He added that Egypt is the largest producer of fish in Africa and the seventh in the wider world. It also holds the top position in tilapia production.
It is unique because 70 per cent of the fish consumed in Egypt comes from fish-farming, Harrison said, whereas in other countries most fish is caught in lakes, rivers and the sea. He attributed this to strong government support for fish-farming later followed up by private-sector investments.
However, Harrison said it was regrettable that production from the Mediterranean and Red Seas did not add more to total fish production in Egypt, caused by over-fishing in both. Oil-drilling and exploration has also affected the fish in both seas, since fish flee extensive activity.
The Nile only produces 4.8 per cent of Egypt's fish, while the Mediterranean produces around eight per cent and the Red Sea around 12 per cent.
Meanwhile, fish-farming has been growing exponentially to reach 1.8 million tons in 2017, up from around 200,000 tons in the 1990s, or a growth rate of around eight to 10 per cent a year.
Local production still does not cover consumption, however, with Egypt importing up to 500,000 metric tons of fish a year, according to UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) statistics.
Harrison said that people were wrong to think that farmed fish were somehow less clean than those caught in the wild. “When they know it is from a farm, some people may claim a fish is less good, but if they are given a blind tasting they cannot tell the fish apart,” he said.
He explained that the law stipulates that water should be used on crops before it goes to fish farms. That could cause impurities in the fish, but when they have been tested fish that have been farmed have shown no signs of being affected by the water.
Such fish are tested for pesticide residues, and any that are found have been within allowed limits.
Harrison suggested that the law should be revised to allow people to raise fish wherever there is suitable water. “Fish do not use water. They live in water. People should not fear that fish-farming could be a cause of water shortages,” he said.
Moreover, the water that fish live in is rich in nutrients because of fish waste, and it could be used to irrigate crops, helping to lower the use of chemical fertilisers, he said.
He said there were around 15,000 fish farms in Egypt, as well as some that are not registered or are considered illegal because they are located in areas not set aside for this purpose. He said fish should be raised wherever they can grow, suggesting the need for changes in the law.
Many people also depend on fish-farming for their livelihoods and food security, and the sector provides employment for 816,000 people in Egypt, according to WorldFish.
The total market value of the industry was $2.2 billion in 2015, according to a report by the US Department of Agriculture.
Scaling up production is needed not just to meet local consumption, but also to stimulate exports, Harrison said.
China exports fish to Africa, so “why can't Egypt export fish to Africa as well,” he asked.
“There is a lot of demand for the fish being produced in Egypt, and it would be cheaper for African countries to import and be a source of income for Egypt.”
However, for exports to flourish it is essential that quality standards are observed, he said. For example, EU monitors regularly check any fish exported to European countries.
Currently, only around 30,000 metric tons of Egyptian tilapia and other fish are exported, Harrison said.
“We have to produce enough before we think of more exports,” he added.
In order to boost production, the government has recently launched several mega-fish farms, one of them in Berket Ghalioun 134km north of Cairo in the Kafr Al-Sheikh governorate.
The project, of which only the first phase has opened, is expected to produce five million kg of fish and shrimps a year.
Any attempt at increasing production and reducing imports is good for food security, Harrison said. While the fish the government is producing might not reach the very poor because some of it is expensive, it can be exported or go to the tourism industry, he added.
“It is a good sign that the government is serious about fish-farming, both fresh water and marine, as this will help to feed the population,” he said.
Berket Ghalioun includes an industrial zone where there will be a fish-feed factory as well as a shrimp-feed plant and refrigeration facilities and packaging plants.
One of the biggest challenges facing the industry is fish feed, and Harrison suggested that the government reduce customs on fish-feed inputs. If the price of fish feed goes down, this will mean cheaper fish for consumers, he said.
Another challenge is post-harvest processing in Egypt. “This is one of the biggest impediments to the proper pricing of fish,” he said, explaining that fish is usually sold fresh at the farm gate as there are not enough cold-chain facilties in Egypt.
Only three per cent of the fish produced is processed, forcing farmers to sell their fish at lower prices to stop it going bad, Harrison added. “When the fish is harvested it needs to be iced and then moved to areas where it can be processed,” he said.
Part of the reason there is not enough processing, according to Harrison, is because Egyptians prefer to eat fresh fish.“This stops us from processing enough fish, and we are losing jobs by not adding value through processing,” he said.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 9 August 2018 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under the headline: Fishing for opportunities


Clic here to read the story from its source.