Empower youths to venture fish industry

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PAFFA6 conference

By Chifundo Mtema

Malawi has a youthful population within the age bracket of 15 – 24 out of the estimated 17.2 million people who were unemployed between 2005-2011.  Some of the youth are orphans while others come from single headed families resulting in huge challenges for them to realize their dreams and full potential. Despite efforts to develop policies and a conducive environment for young people, tangible benefits are yet to trickle down to those on the grassroots.

Young people have a critical role to play in shaping Malawi to be an economic power house, it is imperative therefore that entrepreneurial skills are made available and accessible. This will help the youth to be independent and contribute positively in their societies and the country at large.  No wonder that the Pan African Fisheries Association Conference (PAFFA 6) youth side event under the theme “Youth in Aquaculture and Fisheries: Unlocking potential of young people for sustainable Aquaculture and fisheries”, is expected to give hope to youths of this country.

 

The side event created space to allow discussions on how young people can be actively engaged in innovative fish based agribusinesses, research, and linking of young people to mentors with vast experiences in fisheries and aquaculture development.

 

The fish value chain continues to grow locally and internationally; it is important that youth take advantage of such an opportunity. With Malawi relaying heavily on tobacco, now facing problems including the global anti smoking lobby. It’s high time that the country jump ship and direct its focus on diversifying its export base. One such area that has the potential to bring the much needed foreign exchange is the fishery sector as PAFFA 6 aims at empowering the youth in agribusiness.

The youth should therefore be given the driving seat to move this industry forward.  As it is correctly and repeatedly said, youth are not the leaders of tomorrow rather they are leaders of today.

 

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Sixth International Conference on Pan-African Fish and Fisheries Association set for September

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Prof. Kaunda: The meeting will provide an ideal platform for exchange of key fisheries research information and ideas critical for the growth of fisheries and aquaculture industries in Malawi

The Sixth Pan-African Fish and Fisheries Association (PAFFA), which will be held from the 24th to 28th of September 2018 at Sun n Sand Holiday Resort in the country, has attracted over 300 delegates both international and national.

 

According to PAFFA Local Organising Committee Chairperson, Professor Emmanuel Kaunda, the conference has received very encouraging responses from five of the six continents.

 

“We have received 230 abstracts to be presented by contributors from 37 different countries. These abstracts will be presented in either oral or poster form and six plenary lectures are expected to be delivered,” he said.

 

He said the PAFFA meeting will provide an opportunity for scientists from Malawi, Africa and across the world to come together for information sharing on the research advances made in the fisheries sector.

 

“The meeting will provide an ideal platform for exchange of key fisheries research information and ideas critical for the growth of fisheries and aquaculture industries in Malawi. It shall also provide an opportunity for collaborations,” he said.

 

He said some of the sub themes at the conference include fish systematic, biodiversity research and data management, Biology, ecology and behavior, Aquatic conservation and management, Fish and food security in the 21-st century in Africa.

 

Director of Investment Promotion at Malawi Investment Trade Centre, Mr. Joshua Nthakomwa, said his institution is excited for the conference, saying it is in line with their plans to develop the fisheries sector.

 

He said the sector has lots of potential that can develop the economy as it is still untapped in the country.

 

“Fish is a food item that is on high demand globally. With the rough calculations we did with the Department of Fisheries, we established that fisheries can actually double or even triple the income that we are getting from tobacco,” said Mr. Nthakomwa.

 

Benjamin Kondowe, Head of Fisheries and Aquatic Science at Mzuzu University, said the conference will provide a platform for his institution to showcase what they are doing as far as fisheries and environmental research is concerned.

 

“The conference also offers a platform where we can meet possible partners that we can work with in the future so that we continue doing research as well as continue developing this country within the fisheries sector,” said Dr. Kondowe.

 

Head of World Fish in Malawi, Dr. Joseph Nagoli, emphasized on the importance of PAFFA conference saying it is of greater importance to the country as well as the world at large.

 

“As World Fish, we are excited that we shall meet on one place to discuss issues pertaining the development of aquaculture and Fisheries hence this conference is very important to us to disseminate what we have been doing in aquaculture and Fisheries in Malawi and globally,” said Dr Nagoli.

 

The conference will be hosted by the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR).

 

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