In a visionary move to revolutionize its maritime fishing industry, Tanzania has embarked on a game-changing initiative with the commencement of construction on the Kilwa fishing port. This monumental undertaking, officially inaugurated by President Samia Suluhu Hassan on September 19, marks a historic stride toward diversifying the nation’s fish supply sources and unleashing the full potential of its fishing sector. With a projected completion timeline of 36 months and an estimated cost of 280 billion shillings (US$111.5 million), this ambitious project promises to redefine Tanzania’s fishing landscape and strengthen its position in the global seafood market.
Bolstering Maritime Fishing:
Inland fishing currently accounts for more than 80% of Tanzania’s fish supply. However, the Kilwa fishing port project aims to shift the balance by enhancing maritime fishing capabilities. Abdallah Ulega, the Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, envisions a future where maritime fishing plays a more substantial role in meeting the nation’s fish demand. This strategic shift will not only bolster domestic supply but also position Tanzania as a formidable player in international fish exports.
The Kilwa fishing port is a marvel of modern infrastructure. It is set to include two cold storage warehouses with a combined capacity of nearly 1,400 tonnes, enabling the safe storage of frozen and refrigerated fish. Additionally, the port will feature a dedicated fish processing area, an advanced ship construction facility, a workshop for manufacturing fishing nets, and a spacious parking area capable of accommodating both large fishing vessels and small boats.
A Game-Changer for Tanzania:
With an anticipated annual fish production capacity of at least 60,000 tonnes, the Kilwa fishing port is poised to become a pivotal player in Tanzania’s fishing industry. Minister Ulega’s vision includes having the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) manage the port, and a public-private partnership (PPP) model is under consideration to attract private investments into its operations and development.
Economic Impact and Job Opportunities:
The Kilwa fishing port project is not only an economic catalyst but also a job creator. It has the potential to generate more than 30,000 job opportunities, addressing employment challenges in the region. This is particularly significant, given that over 4.5 million people are employed in Tanzania’s fishing sector, underscoring its importance to the nation’s workforce.
Tanzania’s fishing industry is a cornerstone of its economy, producing more than 621,000 tonnes of fish in 2021, according to World Bank data. This industry’s vitality and its potential for growth make strategic investments like the Kilwa fishing port crucial to ensuring its sustainability and expansion.
A Vision for the Future:
As construction takes flight, the Kilwa fishing port project represents a beacon of hope for Tanzania’s fishing sector. With the unwavering dedication of President Samia Suluhu Hassan and the collaborative efforts of stakeholders, this venture holds the potential to significantly contribute to Tanzania’s goal of diversifying its fish supply chain and solidifying its position as a key player in the East African fishing industry. As the Kilwa fishing port sets sail for prosperity, Tanzania’s maritime fishing revolution has truly begun.
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