Fish farming will be proverbial new ‘gold mine’ for Arusha traders – but provided there is enough support in credit facilities and technical know-how.
For a city that is used to high consumption of meat from livestock, the delicacy from the water ponds – fish – is increasingly attracting local investors.
“This is an area of opportunity but not yet fully developed,” said Charles Makoi, an official of the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA).
He appealed to all players in the fishery value chain to extend the required support that would turn fish farming into a cash spinning activity.
He told fish farmers during the launching of the sector report here on Friday that Arusha has the required water resources and market for fish products.
The expert study was conducted by TCCIA in collaboration with the city council and Trias East Africa, an regional NGO based in Arusha.
“The main objective is to identify the potentiality and competitiveness of the fishery sector to all actors,” he said.
According to the study, the number of commercial fish farmers has increased from only five in 2010 to 91 last year.
The increase corresponded to annual earnings which peaked at Sh27 million last year from a mere Sh1 million in 2021.
There were only five fish ponds constructed for the purpose in 2010, compared to the 108 fish ponds scattered in the city by last year.
Production increased 125 kilogrammes of fish (catches) to 3,125kgs in 2020: a more than 20 percent rise.
Mr. Makoi said the notion that Arusha was not suitable for fish farming due to the chilly weather was misguided.
“Instead the city has abundant water resources and a conducive environment for both local and foreign investors,” he said.
However, the report cited lack of credit facilities as among a raft of drawbacks facing farmers intending to actively join the trade.
Others are limited knowledge of fish pond management and poor or undeveloped market systems and storage facilities.
Suggested interventions include mobilizing the fish farmers to form associations so as to ease their access to loans and other services.
Speaking at the meeting that launched the report, the Arusha city trade officer Privanus Katinila challenged fish farmers to seek loans from the government.
He cited the city council generated about Sh. 23billion annually of which about Sh. 200million is up for grabs by women, youth and people with disabilities as loans.
Maria Kalinga, a fisheries officer with the city, appealed for increased funding of the fisheries department whose current budget allocation is only Sh. 2million.
Production of fish through fish farming (aquaculture) in Tanzania is set to reach 30,000 tonnes by 2025 from 20,000 tonnes now.