Access to value chain finance for small-scale fisheries and aquaculture in Africa

Friday, November 24, 2023

Event summary

The Global Network for Capacity Building to Increase Access of Small-Scale Fisheries to  Financial Services (CAFI-SSF) organized a webinar titled “Access to value chain finance for small-scale fishing and aquaculture in Africa ” on 24 November 2023.

The event was co-organized with the FISH4ACP an initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). FISH4ACP is implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and partners with funding from the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the regional partner organization of the CAFI SSF, the African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA).

The programme was attended by stakeholders from Africa, Asia, and  Europe region. The programme had three distinguished panels of speakers.  The Network Coordinator, Ms Suchitra Upare welcomed all the CAFI SSF members and interested participants who joined the knowledge-sharing session. The programme discussion began with a presentation by Mr Gilles VanDeWalle, Chief Technical Advisor, FISH4ACP project. He gave an overview of the project and the countries in which the project is being implemented. He further discussed and highlighted in his talk the regulatory constraints, the need to address food safety, technology interventions and improvements required in production, introduction of genetically disease-resistant fish species and an infrastructure required, that supports the fisheries and aquaculture value chain activities within the FISH4ACP countries. Mr. Gilles gave an example of how the project is implementing a strategy in Tanzania to support and strengthen value chain actors for adopting; improved processing and cold chain techniques, improved business models to supply to high-value markets, increased participation of women to capture a fair share in the value-added markets, and ensure responsible use of fisheries resource, increased compliance with fisheries regulation He also stated how financial institutions including MFI’s play a vital role for provision of access to finance in Tanzania.

The next presentation was given by Dr. Thomas Gietzen, FAO International Consultant. He shared interesting insights and main reasons as to why small-scale fishers (SSF) do not have access to credit and discussed  lessons learned from the study; i) on how informal finance prevails in the fisheries and aquaculture value chain, ii) limitations faced by financial institutions for provision of digital services to SSF, iii) gender aspect is an important factor that needs to be considered in financing small-scale producers. Dr. Gietzen further shared few examples on how specific financing strategies are likely to be implemented specifically for the countries Zimbabwe and Sao Tome and Principe. The link to the published brochure can be accessed here: https://www.fao.org/3/cc8852en/cc8852en.pdf

The third presentation was by AFRACA Secretary-General, Mr. Thomas Essel, where he shared the constraints and limitations faced by fisheries and aquaculture value chain actors across the Sub-Saharan countries that have abundant fisheries and aquaculture natural resources. He discussed how AFRACA has been facilitating capacity-building programmes amongst its member countries to sensitize the financial institutions on opportunities to invest in the sector. Mr. Essel shared AFRACA’s vision on how to scale up with the support of stakeholders this includes government, investors public and private, industry partners and the fisherfolk associations to unlock the untapped potential of fish value chain in Africa region.

The webinar concluded with the closing remarks by Dr. Raymon van Anrooy, Senior Fishery Officer, Fisheries and Aquaculture Division. He appreciated and expressed his views on how the FISH4ACP study has increased the awareness on seafood value chain and contributed to practical strategy for the development needs of the various value chain activities in the nine African countries. The study showed not only financial needs of value chain actors but also opportunities that exist and provided by financial institutions within some of the countries.

Dr. Raymon, informed the participants, in many of the nine project countries studied, the development process of financial products and services that meets the needs of the value chain stakeholders is continuing in the coming months  and various instruments are being used; such as

i) risk sharing schemes, ii) matching grants, iii) self-help groups are being established, iv) increasing scope of microfinance schemes, and v) amending credit programmes of rural banks together. This will help the banks to address and better the needs of various fish value chain finance. He concluded with the remarks, this work will result in stronger access to finance in the fish value chain segment.


Background Note
The fishing and aquaculture sectors are gradually growing in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific (ACP) regions. Fish for ACP (FISH4ACP) “Sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture value chains in ACP countries” is an initiative of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States aimed at making fisheries and aquaculture value chains in ACP countries more sustainable. It is a five-year project implemented by FAO and partners with funding from the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
In the wake of the project, the African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA) was tasked to explore opportunities on how to improve access to financial services for value chain actors in nine African Fish4ACP partner countries.
This work has led to strategies for improving access to finance for each of the nine value chains in Africa. The strategies are each based on i) a financial sector stakeholder analysis, ii) a market demand and supply analysis regarding financial and insurance services, and iii) an analysis of financial policies and regulations pertaining to financing the value chain.
CAFI SSF – Webinar Talk Series brings to its member organizations and interested participants, the most important lessons learned from this work that offers new insights into the state of access to finance for small-scale aquaculture and fishing businesses in Africa. The work highlights commonalities and differences between the nine partner countries.
The results can help financial institutions better understand the small-scale fishing and aquaculture sectors’ needs and guide policymakers in designing projects to support these businesses.

You may also RSVP to the CAFI-SSF Coordinator:cafi-ssf@fao.org

Our Distinguished Speaker Panel
Dr. Raymon VanAnrooy: Senior Fishery Officer/ Team Leader, Fisheries and Aquaculture Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Gilles VanDeWalle: FISH4ACP Chief Technical Advisor, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Thomas T. Essel: Secretary-General, African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA)
Dr. Thomas Gietzen: International consultant, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)