The United Nations agency helping poor rural people overcome poverty is supporting efforts to boost Eritrea’s traditional fisheries sector while conserving fish stocks and the marine ecosystem.
The $12.6 million grant from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will support the Fisheries Development Project, which aims to reach 6,000 households made up of poor traditional fishers, women, young people and demobilized soldiers living in the regions of Assab, Massawa and 70 villages along the Red Sea coast.
The beneficiaries will receive assistance to form cooperatives to access boats and equipment on credit, as well as training on shore-based activities such as making nets.
The coastal area of the Horn of Africa nation was once home to a strong fisheries sector but has been destroyed by decades of war, according to IFAD.
“The country has some of the few remaining under-exploited fish stocks in the world. However, little support has been provided to the country’s fishing communities to take advantage of these rich resources,” the agency stated in a news release.
In addition to strengthening the traditional fisheries sector, the IFAD-supported project seeks to ensure sustainable resource management.
This in turn will contribute to reducing poverty by boosting the fisheries sector’s contribution to the national economy, as well as improve food security in the region, said the Rome-based agency.
Since 1978, IFAD has invested over $12 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries, empowering more than 350 million people to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes and break out of poverty.
It has financed four projects in Eritrea for a total investment of $55.8 million.