Wednesday, 19 June 2024

In Agriculture

Al-Fayrouz: The Largest Fish Farm in Africa

Built at an estimate cost of US$200 million, Al-Fayrouz Fish Farming Project, is now the largest Aquaculture project in Africa. The farm is expected to produce over one million tons of fish and generate more than US$200 million in revenues in the next five years. The project is located on a 480-acre site in the coastal region of Fajr al-Fayrouz, east of Alexandria, Egypt.

Al-Fayrouz Fish Farming Project will become part of one of Africa's largest and most successful industries: the aquaculture industry. The aquaculture industry includes different ventures involved with farming seafood for human consumption. 

This is the largest project of its kind in the Middle East and Africa, surpassing Lake Harvest of Zimbabwe. Al-Fayrouz Fish Farm is a huge added value to the development of the Suez Canal and the Sinai Peninsula because it entails industrial and urban settlements there; and provides 10,000 direct and indirect job opportunities in different fields.

New technologies in fish farming are being used for the first time in Egypt, such as cage culture, and the level of fish processing will be enhanced to increase the per capital share of fish.

The giant project includes in its inland lakes the Al-Fayrouz Lake on an area of 9,762 feddans, which was formerly part of Port Fouad salt lakes; fishponds in the project amount to 5,908 where every pond size is 1.75 feddans with a total area of 15,886 feddans, and shipyards have been deployed where the size of each dock is 120x80 meters and accommodates six fishing vessels of length up to 30 meters.

This project is a major economic boost to Egypt, as it allows the growth of the Agricultural sector of the economy, and its contribution to the overall GDP of the country. Agriculture is a major component of the Egyptian economy, contributing 11.3 percent of the country's gross domestic product (est. 2019). The agricultural sector accounts for 28 percent of all jobs, and over 55 percent of employment in Upper Egypt is agriculture-related. In 2020, this sector contributed over 14%.

Fishing is a global growth industry and Egypt stands to benefit from several markets that surround it, like Europe, Middle East, and North Africa. In the longer term, the Al-Fayrouz project is expected to promote Egypt's position on the African and Middle East markets.

More than 200,000 tons of fish are raised annually. This provision of food currently contributes 100 million Egyptian pounds (US$5 billion) to Egypt's annual economy. According to data provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, cultivation of cultivated fish varieties in Egypt has increased from 2,000 tons in 2011 to 7,000 tons in 2012; this means that a 15% increase was noticed compared with 2011 [MEAFS]. 

The farm will also provide an opportunity for Egyptian farmers to expand their business or market. According to FAO, by 2029, it is projected that 90% of fish production will be consumed as food. At the global level, fish for human consumption is projected to increase by 16.3%, or an additional 25 Mt, to reach 180 Mt by 2029.

Science Daily says that China leads the world in tonnage of fish caught annually as well as the number of fish consumed, according to new findings. The research ranks the top 20 nations that have the greatest impact on ocean ecosystems through catching or consuming marine wildlife. This creates a new market for Egypt and other fish producing nations to export product to China, as the demand is very high.

According to the report published by Allied Market Research, the global fish farming market generated $271.61billion in 2018, and is projected to reach $376.48 billion by 2025, witnessing a CAGR of 4.7% from 2018 to 2025. Surge in fish production to cater to the food supply, technological advancements, and surge in protein demand from livestock and fisheries across the world drive the growth of the global fish farming market. However, increase in temperature levels and water pollution hinders the market growth. On the other hand, evolution in inland fishing and utilization of sustainable technologies present opportunities in the coming years. 

The global demand for fish is so high, and more projects as Al-Fayrouz are needed. FAO says that sustainable aquaculture development and effective fisheries management are critical to maintain these trends. For fisheries, there is growing evidence that when they are properly managed, stocks are consistently above target levels or rebuilding. However, the successes achieved in some countries and regions have not been sufficient to reverse the global trend of overfished stocks.

In places where fisheries management is not in place, or is ineffective, the status of fish stocks is poor and deteriorating. Although 78.7% of all landings of marine fisheries come from biologically sustainable stocks, the unequal progress in fisheries management highlights the urgent need to replicate and re-adapt successful policies.

Fisheries Management initiatives as those deployed in Egypt are a necessity to grow the world's production of fish. The challenge is to ensure that the management regimes are designed and implemented effectively.

The Al-Fayrouz Fish Farm Project aims to become Egypt's largest Marine fish farming project, not only in Egypt, but in the entire MENA region, with an estimated annual production capacity of 250,000 tons. The Egyptian government sees great promise in this initiative as it looks to increase fish production levels across all sectors.

Fish Farming is one of the growing employers across the world, as it shall increase be in Egypt with initiatives like these. Across the world, the fisheries and aquaculture sector are a major source of employment.

In 2018, an estimated 59.5 million people were engaged in the primary sector of fisheries and aquaculture. In total, about 20.5 million people were employed in aquaculture and 39.0 million in fisheries, a slight increase from 2016.

In 2018, about 88 percent of the 179 million tonnes of total fish production was utilized for direct human consumption.

As production of fish grows, consumption also grows. 

FAO says 12 percent was used for non-food purposes. In 2018, live, fresh or chilled fish still represented the largest share of fish utilized for direct human consumption (44 percent). 

A significant but declining proportion of world fisheries production is processed into fishmeal and fish oil. Fishmeal and fish oil are still considered the most nutritious and most digestible ingredients for farmed fish, and fish oil represents the richest available source of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which perform a wide range of critical functions for human health. However, their inclusion rates in compound feeds for aquaculture have shown a clear downward trend.

Fish is crucial to a nutritious diet in many areas across the world.

Fish and fish products are recognized not only as some of the healthiest foods on the planet, but also as some of the least impactful on the natural environment. For these reasons, they are vital for national, regional and global food security and nutrition strategies, and have a big part to play in transforming food systems and eliminating hunger and malnutrition

Fish provided about 3.3 billion people with almost 20 percent of their average per capita intake of animal protein. In 2017, fish accounted for about 17 percent of total animal protein, and 7 percent of all proteins, consumed globally.

Sources: ET, FAO, GNW, GoE

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