Fish For Nutrition Awareness Campaign Launch
More than half of the Malawian population is affected by chronic food insecurity. Poverty, extreme weather events and a poorly diversified agriculture sector are the main causes of food insecurity in the country. In addition, sharply rising food prices due to the COVID-19 pandemic, severe lean seasons and the impact of the war in Ukraine make it more and more difficult for Malawians to access a calorically sufficient and diversified diet. Like most African countries, Malawi is highly dependent on fish as a source of protein, fatty acids, and micronutrients. Fish stocks in most Malawian water bodies, however, have decreased significantly over the past four decades. This, among others, has led to a reduction of animal protein supply from fish for the Malawian population. With the country’s population projected to exceed 29 million by 2030 (compared to 19.13 million in 2020), the demand for fish and fish products is expected to continue to increase.
Aquaculture has the potential to fill this supply and demand gap. The suitability of an estimated 10-25% of Malawi’s land area for warm-water aquaculture in earth ponds, and the suitability of Lake Malawi, with a surface area of 29,000 km², for cage aquaculture underpin this. Through the development of a sustainable aquaculture sector in Malawi, production could be supported to meet the increase in demand for fish, mitigate food insecurity, sustain the livelihoods of actors along the value chain and protect Malawi’s aquatic biodiversity. Any development within the sector is anticipated to lead to an improved supply of fish protein in both rural and urban areas while reducing the fishing pressure on Lake Malawi.
In response to the potential of Malawi’s aquaculture sector in mitigating food security and improving household nutrition, the project Aquaculture Value Chain for Higher Income and Food Security in Malawi (AVCP), implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German government, through the Aquaculture Round Table (AquaRT) is organising a “Fish for Nutrition” awareness campaign at selected primary schools across 11 districts, targeting 24,000 learners, to raise awareness on the topic and bring about in the long term a fish eating culture among young people who are future leaders of the society. The “Fish for Nutrition” campaign will be presented to a broad audience at a national launch event, which will take place on Friday, November 25, 2022, at Ufulu Gardens Hotel in Lilongwe. The launch as well as the campaign will contribute to the United Nation’s International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA 2022) by recognizing and empowering small-scale fish farmers and their contribution towards human well-being, healthy food systems and poverty.
With good nutrition being the single strongest lever to optimise human health and environmental sustainability, the event highlights the relevance of bringing together key actors from different ministries and sectors, including the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change, and the Ministry of Health, as well as partner projects and organisations such as the African Development Bank funded Sustainable Fisheries, Aquaculture Development and Watershed Management (SFAD-WM) project, GIZ Malawi’s Food and Nutrition Security Programme (FNSP), and Welthungerhilfe. The function will be graced by senior officials from government ministries and agencies, and representatives from the German Embassy to Malawi.