A compelling confluence of market demand, abundant natural resources and an early-stage industry with potential for large scale job creation

It is rare to find such a compelling industry as aquaculture, certainly in East Africa. Aquaculture provides the most environmentally sustainable and affordable source of protein among the traditional livestock categories. With its forward and backward linkages, it is a strong job creator, and Lake Victoria offers almost unlimited opportunities for production. There seems to be no physical or demand constraints for a 10 times growth of the industry over the next decade.

Factsheet: Aquaculture in East Africa in 2019

The market is made up of:

  • Two farms aiming at 15,000 MT/yr or more started fish production in 2016 and 2019
  • Around 35 farms produce above 50 MT/yr. These are typical family businesses.
  • Between 5,000 and 10,000 very small fish farms with unclear business prospects. All farms are still in a volatile learning stage.
  • Wild catch still provides 80% of the supply in Uganda but is fast diminishing in Kenya.
  • Uganda is EA’s largest aquaculture producer, with DRC and Kenya as the main market. The second largest producer, Kenya, mainly serves its domestic market. Production in Tanzania and Rwanda is still nascent.
  • Processing fish is still rare.
  • Total farmed fish production is estimated at 15,000 MT/yr. There are no reliable data though.
  • Unmet demand seems significant, projected to grow by an additional 500,000 MT by 2030. This demand led to large imports of frozen Asian Tilapia.
  • A key driver of competitiveness in aquaculture is aquafeed. Good quality feed costs $700/MT in Egypt, but often over $1,100 in Kenya and Uganda. This difference is caused by low investment and limited competition in local feed production.

Why Aquaculture

  • It can create hundreds of thousands of jobs and improve incomes in the region.
  • The natural resources required for aquaculture such as clean fresh water, are in abundance
  • Commercial aquaculture in the region is young but the private sector shows dynamism and a keenness to invest.
  • There is increasing political buy-in.
  • There are strong opportunities for technology transfer and innovation.

How we are catalyzing growth in aquaculture

Improving feed by supporting development of capable feed producers.

Skills and management
Increasing producer capacity across the industry from smallholders through to scaled enterprises.

Enabling the industry to respond to threats of cheap imports while improving access to new markets.

Crowding in finance to our industries, including launching Africa’s first dedicated aquaculture investment fund alongside Aqua-Spark, the global leader in impact investment in sustainable aquaculture.

Technology & innovation
Leveraging in world-leading technologies and innovations from Europe and Asia.

Developing genetic programmes with appropriate hatchery infrastructure.

Environmental sustainability
Collaborating with public and private sector to develop industry in an environmentally sound manner, including lake zoning and development of environmental impact assessment.

Business environment
Working with government and private sectors to ensure businesses have access to finance and other support in an enabling policy environment.

Lets Collaborate

Are you excited to be a part of how economic development will happen in East Africa?
We invite others to partner with us to drive economic and social change through a systemic and coordinated approach to industrial development while protecting the region’s rich natural capital.