Govt commits to reaching TL’s goal of having 10kg fish consumption per capita, by 2023

Govt commits to reaching TL’s goal of having 10kg fish consumption per capita, by 2023

The State Secretary for Fisheries, Elídio de Araújo (Photo Tatoli/Hortencio Sanchez)

DILI, 06 may 2022 (TATOLI) – The Government of Timor-Leste, through the Secretary of State for Fisheries (SoSF) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MoAF) is optimistic about its current program and diversification actions to increase fish supply and production in the country to raise the consumption to 10 kg per capita, by 2023.

According to the report of the Fisheries and Aquaculture of Timor-Leste, in 2019, the annual per capita fish consumption in the country was 6.1 kg.

In the National Aquaculture Development Strategy (NADS), the government made clear its aim to increase national per capita fish consumption from the current level of 6.1 kg to 15 kg by 2020. However, the goal is yer to achieve due to Covid-19, as the government shifted its focus to the prevention and mitigation of the Covid-19 in the country.

The State Secretary for Fisheries, Elídio de Araújo revealed that: “To reach the goal of having 10kg fish consumption per capita by 2023, SoSF had distributed over one million fish seeds to more than hundreds of groups and individuals of fish farmers across the country.”

Araujo said freshwater aquaculture has significant potential for increasing Timor-Leste’s fish production.

Timor-Leste is a tropical country that has abundant fresh water during the wet season, making it suitable for fish farming.

“I believe that if we keep distributing the fish seeds to the communities across the country, we will be able to reach that goal, by 2023,” he said.

SoSF is not only working on raising the productivity of aquaculture but also focusing on increasing fisheries production.

He said to increase the fisheries production in the country, SoSF had ordered to construct of a total of 110 fishing boats: “Seventy of these fishing boats are being constructed in Indonesia, and the other 40 boats are being constructed in Lautem municipality.”

“These 110 fishing boats would be distributed to small-scale fishers in the 11 municipalities, except for Ermera and Aileu municipality which have no direct access to the sea. So, each of these 11 municipalities would receive 10 fishing boats. Hopefully, next month, we can distribute these boats to the fishers. It includes 110 units of 15 HP Boat Motors,” he explained.

He stressed that in addition to the small fishing boats, the government of Timor-Leste, especially the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has also planned to purchase two big fishing vessels in the future: “The design of these fishing vessels had been submitted to the National Procurement Commission (NPC).”

“So, MoAF would announce the international tenders for the purchase of two fishing vessels once the NPC finalized its work,” he concluded.

If this goal is successfully achieved in 2023 means that many households in Timor-Leste would be able to include fish in their daily meal which is crucial for the elimination of malnutrition.

The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture highlights that increasing the productivity of fisheries and the expansion of the aquaculture play a crucial role in ensuring food security, eliminating hunger and malnutrition, promoting health, and reducing poverty.

Fish is extremely nutritious – a vital source of protein and essential nutrients for human health. Fish is a crucial resource in island economies and food systems, but Timor-Leste is yet to fully develop its aquaculture and fisheries production.

According to WFP’s report, 1-2% of the country’s GDP is lost to malnutrition every year.

WFP also estimated that fishing is the main source of livelihood only for about 20 percent of coastal fishers.

Journalist: Filomeno Martins 

Editor: Nelia Borges 


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