Malawi will next month host the International Conference of the Pan-African Fish and Fisheries Association (Paffa), which authorities expect will help boost fish production in the country.
Chairperson of the local organising committee, Emmanuel Kaunda, said the five-day summit will have 250 delegates from 40 countries. It will run from 24 to 28 September in Mangochi.
Speaking at a news conference in Lilongwe on Friday, Kaunda said Malawi has failed to scale up fish production despite its population growing over the years.
He said: “Scientists and businesspersons from across the world will attend this conference. We expect to learn a lot from these experts on how we can boost fish production.”
In his remarks, Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) director of investment and promotion Joshua Nthakomwa said they look up to fisheries as a key industry to boost the economy.
“We are excited about the summit because we are determined that fisheries have a lot of potential to help develop the economy. Fish is a food item that is on high demand globally and if we can exploit the industry, our economy can benefit a lot,” he said.
Nthakomwa said rough calculations Mitc conducted jointly with the Department of Fisheries showed that fisheries can replace tobacco as a key forex earner.
He said: “Through the calculations we established that fisheries can actually equal or even triple the income that we get from tobacco which is in decline because of an anti-smoking lobby by the World Health Organisation,” he said.
The conference will be held under the theme Diversity Conservation, Sustainable Management and Development.
According to Food and Agriculture Organisation, the annual catch from Malawi’s major fisheries is in the region of between 40 and 60 000 tonnes.