Aquaculture researchers from the University of Stirling are part of a major project which has received £337,000 to develop small-scale commercial aquaculture in Malawi.
Aquaculture Enterprise Malawi (AEM) is one of 15 projects just announced by the First Minister Alex Salmond to receive support from the Scottish Government’s International Development Fund through the Malawi 2013 funding round.
The three-year project brings together the Scotland Malawi Business Group with researchers from the University’s Institute of Aquaculture and the Microloan Foundation.
Together, they will work with private sector partners and existing fish farmers to develop the technical aspects of fish production, market chain communication and networking, focusing on fish farmers located in close proximity to Blantyre, Malawi’s business capital.
George Finlayson of the Scotland Malawi Business Group, a former British High Commissioner to Malawi, said: “This funding has the potential to make a significant contribution to improving nutrition and food security in and around major urban areas of Malawi.
“The demand for fish in both rural and urban areas is booming, but largely unmet. We look forward to bringing a business, microfinance and markets-based approach to producing more fish, whilst also developing the communication and networking skills of key entrepreneurial fish farmers.”
AEM aims to create and foster a supportive business environment through which a network of smaller scale fish farmers can operate as commercial stand-alone businesses, increasing the supply of farmed fish to markets and other outlets in and around urban areas in Malawi.
This project builds on the highly successful Sustainable Aquaculture Research Networks in Sub Saharan Africa (SARNISSA) project, initiated by Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture. It established an online network of more than 2,300 people involved in African aquaculture, from fish farmers, commercial suppliers and researchers to policy makers.
William Leschen, a researcher at the Institute of Aquaculture, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to bringing a more joined-up commercial, business and markets chain approach for small-scale entrepreneurial fish farmers in Malawi. The Institute of Aquaculture is looking forward to playing its part in this project, offering our expertise and knowledge in aquaculture, which is now the fastest growing food production sector globally.”
The project funding announcement marks the bicentenary of Scottish missionary and explorer Dr David Livingstone, during the visit to Scotland by Her Excellency, Dr Joyce Banda, the President of the Republic of Malawi.