JUBA, May 31 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan seeks to increase commercial fish production by investing in modern fishing technologies, processing and value addition in bid to increase the revenue base of the oil-dependent nation, a senior government official said Wednesday.
James Janga Duku, Minister of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Resources, said his ministry has partnered with the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to develop to build a national fisheries policy, improve fishing technology through provision of fishing gear, value addition, packaging techniques and increasing international marketing of fish products.
Duku said South Sudan currently produces an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 tons of fish annually despite the country's large quantity of different fish species in swamps and the River Nile.
He blamed use of rudimentary fishing methods, poor infrastructure and lack of fisheries laws and to guide investment in the fisheries sector.
"Here in South Sudan, we have the fish but we don't know how to catch it for industrial scale because we don't have the capacity. This project will help us prepare for industrial fishing throughout the country and also boost investment in the fishery sector," Duku said.
Once the national fishery policy is complete, it will help with financing fishery projects, research on fish species and development of aqua culture, Duku noted.
Andrew Goodwin, Associate Development Expert for UNIDO, said between 40 and 45 percent of all fish produced in South Sudan is lost to poor post-harvest practices.
He said a five-year project worth 11 million U.S dollars UNIDO jointly implemented with the government in three states of Jubek, Terekeka and Imatong seeks to reduce post harvest losses, value addition, capacity building and improving hygiene in fishing camps.
"For people involved in the fishing sector, it can offer economic development to their communities, make people get nutritious products from fish and a huge boost to the economy," Goodwin said.