Is Aquaculture a Success? Evidence from Africa

  • Sharon Indasi Lubembe University of Eldoret
  • Sharon Okoth University of Eldoret
  • Hilda R.B. Hounsounou Université Officielle de Bukavu
  • Benson Turyasingura Kabale University
  • Kelvin O. Moenga University of Eldoret
  • Thoko B. S. Mwalughali Université Officielle de Bukavu
Keywords: Aquaculture, Africa, Successes, Food Security, Employment
Share Article:


Globally, human population growth worldwide is something that cannot be controlled, and so there is a need to sustain the needs of a growing population. In Africa, for instance, population projections are made yearly, not even once stagnation is seen. Feeding and nutrition issues, hunger eradication have become a problem with the continuing growth of the population, which in turn is putting a lot of pressure on available resources like capturing fisheries from the lakes, oceans, and rivers, leaving them void. Aquaculture has then proven useful in supplementing the dwindling catch fisheries stocks, which have become incapable of supporting the growing population. Since its introduction in Africa, however, changes have been seen as it has contributed to food security and malnutrition and improved livelihoods by creating jobs and generating income. Currently, diversified products come from aquaculture practices both in inland and freshwaters, ponds, and intensification of aquaculture farming methods, which all put together boost the production to a higher level. Genetics has also been employed to ensure seeds produced for aquaculture are worth being cultured for production. A lot of fisher folks are benefiting both directly and indirectly making a living. Although the contribution of aquaculture is small, sometimes termed insignificant, its growth is steady and it has a promising future as far as its goals (increased protein food production and improved livelihoods of fisher communities) are concerned


Download data is not yet available.


AFDB. (2011). Environmental and Social Management Plan Summary. Lake Harvest Aquaculture Expansion Project. Zimbabwe, African Development Bank Group. 12 pp.

Affognon, H., Mutungi, C., Sanginga, P., & Borgemeister, C. (2015). Unpacking postharvest losses in Sub-Saharan Africa: a meta-analysis. World Dev. 66, 49-68.

Anderson, J. L., Asche, F., Garlock, T., & Chu, J. (2017). Aquaculture: Its role in the future of food. In World agricultural resources and food security. Emerald Publishing Limited.

Anjejo, K. M. (2017). Cage fish farming and its effects on livelihoods of fisherfolk within Anyanga beach, Siaya County, Kenya.

AUC-NEPAD. (2014). The Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa; NEPAD: Johannesburg, South Africa, 2014.

Barría, A., Trịnh, T. Q., Mahmuddin, M., Peñaloza, C., Papadopoulou, A., Gervais, O., ... & Houston, R. D. (2021). A major quantitative trait locus affecting resistance to Tilapia lake virus in farmed Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). Heredity, 127(3), 334-343.

Béné, C., Barange, M., Subasinghe, R., Andersen, P. P. A., Merino, G., Hemre, G., & Williams, M. (2015). Feeding 9 billion by 2050-Putting fish back on the menu. Food Secur. 7(2), 261-274.

Bentsen, H. B., Gjerde, B., Nguyen, N. H., Rye, M., Ponzoni, R. W., de Vera, M. S. P., ... & Eknath, A. E. (2012). Genetic improvement of farmed tilapias: Genetic parameters for body weight at harvest in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) during five generations of testing in multiple environments. Aquaculture, 338, 56-65.

Beveridge, M. C. M., Thilsted, S. H., Philips, M. J., Metian, M., Troell, M., & Hall, S. J. (2013). Meeting the food and nutrition needs of the poor: the role of fish and the opportunities and challenges emerging from the rise of aquaculture. J. Fish Biol. 83(83), 1067-1084.

Brummett, R. E., Lazard, J., & Moehl, J. (2008). African aquaculture: Realizing the potential. Food Policy, 33(5), 371-385.

Bush, S. R., & Oosterveer, P. (2019). Governing Sustainable Seafood. Taylor & Francis Group: New York, NY, USA.

Cai, J., Quagrainie, K. (2020). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO]. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture

Chan, C. Y., Tran, N., Pethiyagoda, S., Crissman, C. C., Sulser, T. B., & Phillips, M. J. (2019). Prospects and challenges of fish for food security in Africa. Global Food Security, 20, 17-25.

Coche, A. G. (Ed.). (1994). Aquaculture development and research in Sub-Saharan Africa: national reviews (No. 23). Food & Agriculture Org.

Cox, J. (2013). Assessment Report on Small-Scale Fisheries in Africa. uploads/2013/01/AU-Report_Africa.pdf.

Daw, T., Adger, W.N., Brown, K., Badjeck, M.C. (2009). Climate change and capture fisheries: potential impacts, adaptation and mitigation.

De Graaf, G., & Garibaldi, L. (2015). The value of African fisheries. FAO fisheries and aquaculture circular, (C1093).

Dey, M. M., & Gupta, M. V. (2000). Socioeconomics of disseminating genetically improved Nile tilapia in Asia: An introduction. Aqua. Econ.Manag, 4, 5-11.

FAO. (2000). The state of world fisheries and aquaculture. Rome (Italy): Fisheries Department.

FAO. (2005). Food and Agriculture Organization: Increasing the contribution of small-scale fisheries to poverty alleviation and food security. Technical guidelines for responsible Fisheries, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome. 10:79.

FAO. (2006). Social impacts, employment and poverty reduction. In: State of World Aquaculture 2006, Chapter 7, p 95-112. Rome. (also available at

FAO. (2013). Food an Aquaculture Organization (FAO). Global Aquaculture Production; FAO: Rome, Italy.

FAO. (2014). Youth and Aquaculture in Africa. Rome, FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Division. FAO-InfographicYouth-Aquaculture-Africa-en.pd.

FAO. (2017). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition in Africa 2017. The Food Security and Nutrition-conflict Nexus: Building Resilience for Food Security, Nutrition and Peace; FAO: Accra, Ghana, 2017.

FAO. (2018). The state of world fisheries and aquaculture: contributing to food security and nutrition for all. Rome.

FoodTechAfrica. (2019). Fishhub, a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) for Africa [online]. Nairobi, FoodTechAfrica.

FAO. (2020). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations ([FAO]. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020.

foodBusinessAfrica (2020). Finnfund boosts Zambia’s Yalelo Aquaculture with the first direct investment. Nairobi, FoodBusinessAfrica. -the-first-direct-investment/

Gareth, P. (2001). Fisheries and the environment. Fisheries subsidies and overfishing: towards a structured discussion. Nairobi (Kenya): UNEP.

Garlock, T., Asche, F., Anderson, J., Bjørndal, T., Kumar, G., Lorenzen, K., Ropicki, A., Smith, M. D., & Tveterås, R. (2020). A global blue revolution: Aquaculture growth across regions, species, and countries. Reviews in Fisheries Science & Aquaculture, 28(1), 107-116.

Genschick, S., Kaminski, A. M., Kefi, A. S., & Cole, S. M. (2017). Aquaculture in Zambia: An overview and evaluation of the sector's responsiveness to the needs of the poor. Penang, Malaysia, CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems and Lusaka, Zambia, Department of Fisheries. Working Paper: FISH-2017-08. 31 pp. (also available at: FISH-2017-08.pdf.

Gjedrem, T. (1975). Possibilities for genetic gain in salmonids. Aquaculture, 6, 23-29.

Gjedrem, T. (1985). Improvement of productivity through breeding schemes. Geo Journal, 10(3), 233-241.

Golden, C. D., Allison, E. H., Cheung, W. W. L., Dey, M. M., Halpern, B. S., McCauley, D. J., Smith, M., Vaitla, B., Zeller, D., & Myers, S. S. (2016). Nutrition: Fall in fish catch threatens human health. Nature, 534, 317-320,

Grainger, R. (2016). Fisheries and Aquaculture. Routledge Handbook of Food and Nutrition Security. Routledge, London and New York. Pp153-181

Halwart, M. (2020). Fish farming high on the global food system agenda in 2020. FAO Aquaculture Newsletter, 61, II-III.

Harper, S., Zeller, D., Hauzer, M., Pauly, D., & Sumaila, U. R. (2013). Women and fisheries: Contribution to food security and local economies. Mar. Policy, 39, 56-63.

Hecht, T. (2006). Regional review on aquaculture development for sub-saharan africa-2005.

Henriksson, P. J. G., Dickson, M., Allah, A. N., Al-Kenawy, D., & Phillips, M. (2017). Benchmarking the environmental performance of best management practice and genetic improvements in Egyptian aquaculture using life cycle assessment. Aquaculture, 468, 53-59.

ICLARM-GTZ. (1991). The context of small-scale integrated agriculture aquaculture systems in Africa: a case study of Malawi. - ICLARM Stud. Rev., 18: 302 pp.

IPCC. Climate change (2007). Impacts, adaptations and vulnerability. In working group II contribution Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Summary for policy makers. IPCC Secretariat, Geneva, Switzerland.

Kaleem, O., & Sabi, A. F. B. S. (2021). Overview of aquaculture systems in Egypt and Nigeria, prospects, potentials, and constraints. Aquaculture and Fisheries, 6(6), 535-547.

Kincaid, H. L. (1983). Results from six generations of selection for accelerated growth rate in a rainbow trout population. The future of aquaculture in North America. Fish Culture Section of the American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland, 26-27.

Kincaid, H. L., Bridges, W. R., von Limbach, B. (1977). Three generations of selection for growth rate in fall-spawning rainbow trout. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 106, 621-628.

Kupaza, M., Gore, T. O., Mukanangana, F., & Makurah, E. (2015). Small scale fisheries as a livelihood strategy: A case study of Lake Chivero in Zimbabwe. Global Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 4 (3), 141–147.

Lam, V. W. Y., Cheung, W. W. L., Swartz, W., & Sumaila, U. R. (2012). Climate change impacts on fisheries in West Africa: implications for economic, food and nutritional security. Afr J Mar Sci., 34(1), 103-117. https://

Largo, D. B., Msuya, F. E., & Menezes, A. (2020). Understanding diseases and control in seaweed farming in Zanzibar. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper No. 662.

Lazard, J., Lecomte, Y., Stomal, B., & Weigel, J. Y. (1991). Fish farming in sub-Saharan Africa. Situations and projects in francophone countries. Proposals for action. - Ministry of Cooperation and Development, Paris. 155 p

Manyungwa-Pasani, C.L., Hara, M., Chimatiro, S.K. (2017). Women's participation in fish value chains and value chain governance in Malawi: A case of Msaka (Lake Malawi) and Kachulu (Lake Chilwa). In Working Paper 45; PLAAS UWC: Cape Town, South Africa.

NEPAD (2016a). Planning and Coordinating Agency, African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resourceshe. The Pan-African Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy Framework and Reform Strategy: Promoting Inter-Regional Fish Trade. NPCA, AU-IBAR, Midrand, South Africa.

NEPAD (2016b). What is needed to realise the full economic potential of Africa's fish resources? The Pan-African Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy Framework and Reform Strategy: The Benefits of Fish-Resource Exploitation in Africa.

Orina, P., Ogello, E., Kembenya, E., Muthoni, C., Musa, S., Ombwa, V., Mwainge, V., Abwao, J., Ondiba, R., Kengere, J. (2021). The state of cage culture in lake victoria: A focus on sustainability, rural economic empowerment, and food security. Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management, 24(1), 56-63.

OECD/FAO (2015). OECD/Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2015 OECD Publishing, Paris

OECD/FAO (2018). OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2018-2027, OECD Publishing, Paris/ Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.

Ragasa, C., Charo-Karisa, H., Rurangwa, E., Tran, N., & Shikuku, K. M. (2022). Sustainable aquaculture development in sub-Saharan Africa. Nature Food, 3(2), 92-94.

Ragasa, C., Andam, K. S., Kufoalor, D. S., & Amewu, S. (2018). A blue revolution in sub-Saharan Africa? Evidence from Ghana’s tilapia value chain (Vol. 49). Intl Food Policy Res Inst.

Satia, B.P. (2017). Regional Review on status and Trends in Aquacultre Development in Sub-Saharan Africa-2015. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular No. 1135/4.

Satia, B. P. (2011). Regional Review on Status and Trends in Aquaculture Development in Sub-saharan Africa-2010/Revue régionale sur la situation et les tendances dans l'aquaculture en Afrique subsaharienne-2010. FAO Fisheries and aquaculture circular, (C1061/4), I.

Soliman, N. F., & Yacout, D. M. M. (2016). Aquaculture in Egypt: status constraints and potentials. Aquaculture International, 24(5), 1201-1227.

Swaibu, M., Tonny, O., & Anthony, T.M. (2017). Harnessing floating cage technology to increase fish production in Uganda. Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC).

Tacon, A. G. J., & Halwart, M. (2007). Cage aquaculture: A global overview. In M. Halwart, D. Soto, & J. R. Arthur (eds), Cage aquaculture: Regional reviews and global overview (pp 1-6). Rome, Italy: FAO. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 498.

Tacon, A. G. J., Lemos, D., & Metian, M. (2020). Fish for Health: Improved Nutritional Quality of Cultured Fish for Human Consumption. Reviews in Fisheries Science & Aquaculture, 28 (4), 449-458.

Thurstan, R. H., & Roberts, C. M., (2014). The past and future of fish consumption: can supplies meet healthy eating recommendations? Mar. Pollut. Bull. 89, 5-11. 2014.09.016.

Tran, N., Chu, L., Chan, C. Y., Genschick, S., Phillips, M. J., & Kefi, A. S. (2019). Fish supply and demand for food security in Sub-Saharan Africa: An analysis of the Zambian fish sector. Marine Policy, 99, 343-350.

Troell, M., Naylor, R. L., Metian, M., Beveridge, M., Tyedmers, P. H., Folke, C., ... & De Zeeuw, A. (2014). Does aquaculture add resilience to the global food system? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(37), 13257-13263.

UNCTAD, (2020). Trade and development report from global pandemic to prosperity for all: avoiding another lost decade.

World Bank Data (2022). Fisheries Aquaculture Organization. Debt Report Edition II. Washington, DC. © World Bank.

WorldFish Center (2007). Policy on the transfer of genetically improved farm tilapia (GIFT) from Asia to Africa. In the WorldFish Center Working Papers; WorldFish Center: Penang, Malaysia.

22 November, 2022
How to Cite
Lubembe, S., Okoth, S., Hounsounou, H., Turyasingura, B., Moenga, K., & Mwalughali, T. (2022). Is Aquaculture a Success? Evidence from Africa. East African Journal of Agriculture and Biotechnology, 5(1), 223-237.

Most read articles by the same author(s)