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Capacity Building of Actors in the Fish Farming Sector in the Republic of Congo


Congo fish farming projectThe EU-funded Projet de renforcement des capacités des acteurs de la filière piscicole en République du Congo (RECAFIP), implemented by APDRA Pisciculture Paysanne and the Congolese NGO Forum for the Promotion of Rural Groups (FPGR), aims to strengthen civil society actors and local authorities in the fish farming sector. The project ventures to improve fish production in a sustainable and cost-effective way and strengthen local value chains in the Congo.

Due to largely insufficient production, demand is partially satisfied by frozen fish imports in the Congo. The first phase of the project aims to promote short supply chains by strengthening the organization of the fresh fish value chain. The integration of producers into networks will contribute to their enhanced role in the local economic fabric. The second phase of this  project aims to increase supply and improve the quality of fish on the market in the Congo.


The project strengthens the capacities of fish farmers by helping them make investments through the mobilization of their own resources (funding and labor) and the development of their own economic activities that are or can be made  environmentally sustainable. Technical support is provided to help farmers build their own ponds. The training method is  based on a collective approach that integrates exchange of experience and promotes the empowerment of producers in the sector. Fish farmers are organized into groups to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and networking among the groups. In addition, local and international exchange trips (for example, with farmers in Côte d’Ivoire) are  organized to share experiences on fish farming as well as tutoring of beginner fish farmers by experienced fish farmers living in the same area.

Trials on an array of skills, including how to raise fry fish, feed fish, manage the temperature of water, and grow rice in ponds, are carried out by fish farmers with the support of experts who help identify suitable solutions to problems that arise. The organization of the value chain is improved with the collective transportation of fish in the surrounding cities.

In the first phase of the project, 200 fish farmers were supported and fish production increased by 20% in 40 hectares of functional ponds. Thirty women were trained in marketing of fish and 20 local entrepreneurs worked with producers providing services such advisory services and cold chain support during transport. Results include:

Social: The project strengthens capacities of 1,000 farmers, 20 farmer organizations, and numerous value chain actors. It also works to increase economic opportunities for women by designing fish marketing trainings targeted toward women. Additionally, with improved yields, local food security among fish farmers is improved.

Environmental: The principle of the project is to use only resources available locally. Agricultural by-products (cassava, taro, sweet potato leaves) or compost made from plant waste or animal waste are recycled to fertilize ponds. The integration of rice farming with fish farming contributes to environmental performance. The pond water can be used for other uses within the family farm, such as gardening or extensive pig or poultry farming. In addition to providing fertilization and free feeding of fish, this recycling practice does not yield greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in its production.

Economic: The project facilitates diversification of livelihoods of small family farms. Fish farming activity provides additional income while contributing to the food diversification of households (600 kg of fish per ha every 6 months). Food diversification is reinforced by the possibility of associating rice and vegetable production with fish production. The simultaneous breeding of several species (tilapia, catfish, heterotis, hemichromis) enhances the natural productivity of the pond.

The project intervention takes place throughout the fish farming sector. Farmed fish, which represent only 0.5% of Congolese freshwater fish production, is usually sold directly near the pond. The development of farmed fish production contributes to the diversification of the local economy as it generates the emergence of different types of actors (service providers, traders) around this activity.


This project’s fish farming approach focuses on fish farmers investing in themselves with their own resources, tools, and skills, and only intervenes with advisory support and on the supply of the first fingerlings to start production. This approach requires important preliminary discussions with communities. Such an approach leads to sustainability of the fish production as farmers are able to maintain their activities without additional external support. Additionally, the partnership between APDRA (international NGO) with a Congolese NGO ensures continuity until the end of the project.

In terms of lessons learned, this approach is limited in that it requires fish farmers to mobilize their own resources early on in order to carry out their work. These constraints disproportionately impact women, young people, and people who do not have secure access to land. In order for the project to be as inclusive as possible, it emphasizes self-help groups to build pounds and the sharing of experiences and know-how.

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