The government of the Republic of Rwanda is committing to the growth of fish production with a grant of 9.5 million Rwandan francs. This is to limit fish imports by 2024.
Produce 112,000 tonnes of fish by 2024. This is the logic behind the Rwandan government’s announcement to invest 9.5 million in local fish production. Indeed, fish is a main source of protein for most Rwandans. But its production is still low to meet the needs of the population. According to The New Times, the country’s fish production in 2021 was 39,269 tonnes.
According to a report from the Rwandan Ministry of Trade and Industry, imports increased from 22,473 tonnes in 2017 to 35. 772 tonnes by 2020. That is, with this low production, imports have increased in recent years. These imported fish are mainly live fish, fresh or chilled fish and frozen fish.
The reasons behind the low fish production in Rwanda.
According to the Rwanda Agricultural and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB), there are several reasons for the low fish production in Rwanda. Among the main causes are illegal fishing practices, low investment, high feed costs and lack of value added.
To address these causes, approximately CHF 8.7 billion will be spent on subsidising fish feed production. With this subsidy, it will be possible to make this raw material available and accessible on the local market in order to develop aquaculture. This segment currently accounts for only 13% of total fish production, or about 5,000 tonnes.
Towards expanding the field of fish farming.
In addition to this intervention component, the Rwandan government wishes to support the development of lakes and fish ponds with a sum of approximately 610 million Rwandan francs. According to Solange Uwituze, there are 1,583 ponds covering a total area of 252 hectares in the country. She also mentioned that fish pond production has increased from 461 tonnes in 2020 to 490.8 tonnes in 2021. Similarly, these funds will be used to initiate training programmes for cooperatives on production technologies.
Thus, all these strategies will help to increase the local supply of fish to 112,000 by 2024 to increase the level of per capita consumption, which remains the lowest in Africa.