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Tanzania embarks on reshaping fisheries and aquaculture sector landscape

April 12, 2024  By Bob Atwiine

One of the cages under construction at My Fish Tanzania Photo: Bob Atwiine

In a bold move to boost the growth of aquaculture sector and increasing its contribution to its gross domestic product (GDP), the government of the United Republic of Tanzania has embarked on massive investment and development of fisheries sector on Lake Victoria in northern part of the country. 

Officials say the program which started in 2023 is aimed at reshaping the landscape of fisheries sector and increasing its contribution to the GDP from the current 1.08 per cent.

This year, the government through the Ministry of Livestock Development is giving out 682 cages, four million fingerlings and 800 tonnes of feeds to farmers as soft loan with zero interest for five years. 

The beneficiaries are the fish farmers from the five regions in the lake zone which include Mwanza, Kagera, Geita, Simiyu and Mara both on Lake Victoria, Africa’s biggest freshwater lake and home of Oreochromis niloticus for riparian states. 


Elpidius Mpanju the country’s pioneer of the aquaculture business and one of the biggest fish farmers in Tanzania says he expects huge development in the aquaculture industry because of the government’s commitment to fully support the sector. 

“It going to be a game changer, our government is serious about aquaculture. Farmers will get soft loans for five years with no interest. Each farmer or a group is getting six cages, fingerlings and feeds. More than 1,000 farmers will benefit from the program,” says Mpanju, adding that this is a continuation of the program which started last year. 

MyFish Tanzania, a company owned by Mpanju has since been contracted to manufacture and supply 318 of the 682 HDPE cages set to be supplied to various fish farmers. 

Tanzania also scrapped off all taxes and other tariffs concerning aquaculture in the country in order to align with the global trends which estimate that over 50 per cent of the consumed fish is from modern farming productions.

Aquaculture sector is key to the Tanzania government as it supports about 4.5 million people, with fishing activities dominated by small-scale fishermen accounting for more than 95 per cent of the total fish produced.

Tanzania fish production in the fiscal year 2022/2023 rose to 392, 933 metric tonnes, earning significant forex of over Tsh 1.85 trillion (US$800 million) compared to previous years. 

In 2016, the country’s total comparable output was just over 5,000 metric tons with a value of almost US$18.3 million.

The rise in earnings is attributed to a raft of measures taken by the government to safeguard the industry.

Through working together with its development partners, Tanzania government is working to increase aquaculture production, as well as to reduce post-harvest fish losses, boost fish consumption by women and children, and encourage better management of small-scale coastal and inland fisheries.

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