FoodTechAfrica (FTA) is a public-private initiative combining the strengths of Dutch agro-food companies (mainly SMEs), knowledge institutes, governmental agencies and their East-African counterparts to improve food security in East Africa through the establishment of a fully integrated aquaculture value chain.
Food security: growing demand for protein-rich products
East Africa is facing a growing demand for animal protein, due to a sharp growth in population, rapid urbanisation, rising incomes and changes in food habits. This results in increasing demand for sustainably produced, safe, nutritious and protein-rich food products. At present, local actors are unable to meet this demand. This results in nutritional deficiency, inconsistent supply and excessively high prices for a substantial part of the population.
Aquaculture: challenges in sustainable growth
Fish are efficient forms of livestock in terms of water usage, feed conversion and greenhouse gas emissions. This healthy source of animal protein offers substantial opportunities to improve food security, when produced in a sustainable manner.
At current, several major challenges inhibit production increase within the aquaculture value chain: (1) lack of economies of scale and the absence of critical mass; (2) insufficient access to high-quality inputs such as stocking material, fertilizer, feed and water; (3) poor farm management; (4) poor animal health management; (5) lack of an integrated value chain (including raw materials, inputs, primary production, processing, cold storage and distribution to (retail) markets); (6) lack of local finance, costly debt funding, high transaction costs, commercial risks; and (7) a challenging business environment (e.g. corruption, formalities, duties) for commercial to small-scale subsistence farmers.
Objective of FTA
The objective of FTA is to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of a fully integrated aquaculture value chain in East Africa by combining the strengths of Dutch agro-food companies (mainly SMEs), knowledge institutions, government and their East-African counterparts. This contributes to the development of local capacity through knowledge transfer, linking existing primary production processes and results in a positive spin-off in terms of increased production and productivity, improved infrastructure and technical capacity, more efficient markets and local entrepreneurship, thereby benefitting both commercial and small-scale subsistence farmers.
Developing a value chain to improve agricultural productivity and local market efficiency is the most effective way to boost local economic growth while substantially contributing to poverty reduction. This will lead to less dependence and contribute to increased self-reliance.