EU project will explore how aquaculture supports development

An EU-funded initiative is exploring methods that will allow researchers to understand how aquaculture can promote development.
January 21, 2015

Providing sufficient food for a world population expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050 presents an enormous challenge. Aquaculture can play an important role in enhancing food security, alleviating poverty and improving nutrition in developing nations and low-income food-deficit countries (LIFDCs). Thus, understanding how aquaculture can feed the people of developing countries and help lift them out of poverty is of critical importance. However, information is limited regarding the direct and indirect socioeconomic impacts of aquaculture on rural development. Gaps in the research mean that the contributions of aquaculture to human health and nutrition and micronutrients critical to child development are poorly understood.

The \'Aquaculture for food security, poverty alleviation and nutrition\' (AFSPAN) project was established to better understand how aquaculture contributes to food security. It will enhance coordination between Member States and EU initiatives related to international cooperation that aim to develop aquaculture as a means of combating food insecurity.
AFSPAN comprises 18 partners in 11 selected LIFDCs, EU partners and three international organizations. The project\'s goal is to develop methodologies based on an interdisciplinary framework and broad range of indicators that will enable researchers to understand aquaculture in a development context. It will therefore provide a sound basis for food allocation and the development of research programmes into sustainable aquaculture.

Project partner countries were chosen according to a range of human development conditions and national efforts to include aquaculture in improving food security. The countries represent all major regions and nations where aquaculture plays a major role in the national economy. This is due to large numbers of small-scale aquaculture operations and significant international trade of fish and fishery products.

The work of AFSPAN will highlight the significant contribution of aquaculture to not just food security and nutrition, but also job creation, income generation and women\'s empowerment. The research conducted will also enable LIFDCs and development partners to develop and implement sustainable strategies for improving the lives of millions of poor people.