DAR ES SALAAM: DEPUTY Prime Minister Dr Doto Biteko has directed the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries and its institutions to ensure the fisheries sector becomes an important engine in eradicating poverty in the country.
Dr Biteko issued the order at an event to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI) held in Dar es Salaam, on Friday.
“The ministry and all institutions including TAFIRI should collaborate to ensure the fisheries sector becomes a critical factor for doing away with poverty.
“You need to boost our exports by expanding the scope of fisheries products in order to generate foreign direct investments (FDIs) which have lately posed a big challenge to the economies of the country and across the globe,” said Dr Biteko.
Elaborating, he reminded the public on the importance of conserving the environment and all sources of water taking into account that the fisheries sector relied on availability of sustainable waters.
According to him, in the case where the ecology and environment have been tempered with huge, impacts can be realised, thereby deterring the country’s efforts to do away with poverty.
He expressed the government commitment to do all it can to support the operations of TAFIRI to be an exemplary institution not only in Tanzania, but Africa and the world at large.
Dr Biteko who is also the Minister for Energy noted that TAFIRI should serve as a centre of excellence where people can be to obtain reliable information in making informed policy decisions in the quest to eradicate poverty among the population.
“The fisheries sector has a great potential and fast growing, indicating that in the previous financial year fish exports accumulated 168 million US dollars and in the current year the country has already exported fish amounting 249 million US dollars,” he noted.
He added: “Although the contribution is huge but more needs to be done…all fish products obtained in the country; 85 per cent comes from the cold waters generate only 6 per cent of the entire country and a large section is being occupied by the ocean, but its contribution is very minimal.”
On this regard, he said that TAFIRI has a great role to help the government and fisheries stakeholders to ensure fishing in the sea boosts its coverage in increasing its contribution.
He indicated that Tanzania is endowed with many great lakes, rivers and ocean, the question is how the country can utilise all this potential in improving the conditions of its people.
“You have a responsibility to devise ways which foresee the utilisation of the God given gift in making Tanzania to see the fisheries sector as an income generating opportunity they can rely on,” stressed the Deputy Minister.
He noted that the government has put huge efforts in building the blue economy. In order to realize this vision, it is critical that really action is put in place and its possible.
For his part, the Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Mr Abdallah Ulega observed that the government has given priority to the livestock and fisheries sector as it can be witnessed through the increased budget by over 100bn/-
He indicated that the fisheries sector is key in the growth of the country’s economy, noting that in terms of employment creation over 200,000 jobs have been created as per the released fishing licenses.
And, in terms of those involved in fish processing and those dealing with roasted fish accumulate over 4.5 million people as per the ministry’s data.
“Currently, the fisheries sector account for 1.7 per cent of the country’s GDP, whereas the goal is to arrive at 10 per cent comes the year 2030,” said Mr Ulega.
The Minister also revealed that in the meantime the country generates up to 500,000 tons of fish, while the goal is to reach 600,000 tons in the financial year 2025/2026.
He noted that the accumulation accounted for 30 percent of proteins sourced from animals; therefore a boost in the production of fish will boost the rate of protein to 35 per cent.
The event also went hand in hand with the launch of the Electronic Cath Assessment System (eCAST) in Potential Fishing Zones (PFZ) and launch of the Strategy for Reduction of Loss and Waste in the Dagaa Fishery of Mainland (2023-2033).
Also, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the expansion of its Heshimu Bahari Activity to cover more seascape in the mainland and Zanzibar whereby by increasing its financing from 13 million US dollars to 25 million US dollars.
All the initiatives are geared towards strengthening the fisheries sector’s contribution to the economy of the country.