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IFAD signs US$17.56mn aquaculture project in DR Congo

DR Congo and the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have signed a US$17.56mn agreement to finance an inland fisheries and aquaculture project

The project will be implemented in the northern departments of Cuvette, Cuvette-Ouest, Sangha and Plateaux. The funding includes a US$7.7mn IFAD loan, a US$500,000 grant from IFAD, a contribution of US$3.17mn from the government of DR Congo and US$2.5mn from the project’s beneficiaries. The government is working with the OPEC Fund for International Development and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation to fill the co-financing gap.

DR Congo imports more than 40,000 tonnes of fish every year to meet its domestic demand, which is among the highest in the world. The new project aims to promote sustainable development and improve management of inland fisheries, as well as promote fishing and aquaculture techniques, fish processing and provide access to markets to small-scale fish farmers.

It hopes to increase catches while taking measures to ensure preservation of the natural resource base. Fish processing will be improved by introducing new technologies such as improved ovens for drying and smoking, and fishing organisations will be trained to use new technologies. Market-related infrastructure will also be improved. Fish farmers will gain easier access to proper ponds, high quality fingerlings and nutritious fish meal.

Adriane Del Torto, programme analyst at IFAD, explained, “One of the main objectives in designing this project is to raise the incomes of the smallholder fish farmers by putting in place sustainable fisheries management, resulting in more productive fishing and improvements in product processing and marketing.”

The project will be implemented by the country’s Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, and will begin with a pilot phase. Some 5,600 vulnerable households, including those headed by women and young people, are expected to benefit from this project.