Challenges facing emerging aquaculture entrepreneurs in south africa and possible solutions
Despite aquaculture being hailed as the fastest growing farming sector in the world, South African aquaculture is still lagging behind. This article aims to highlight challenges (mostly beyond their control) that South Africa’s emerging aquaculture entrepreneurs have to endure in order to find a breakthrough into the industry. Availability of necessary resources such as land, water, infrastructure, financial support and access to markets, as well as crime are among challenges faced by these entrepreneurs on a daily basis. Limited human resources in capacity building, skills and aquaculture expertise also hinders the development and expansion of aquaculture in South Africa. Complex legislation governing aquaculture further limits the development of this sector to prospective investors. Fish and machinery theft in fish farms has an adverse effect, which had resulted in many enterprises closing down in recent years. South Africa is not a traditional fish-eating nation and this phenomenon has seen many emerging entrepreneurs struggling to locally commercialize their produce. It is well known that fish consumption provides human nutrition with essential nutrients necessary for normal body function. Thus, aquaculture has the potential to contribute to food and nutrition security and alleviate poverty in rural communities. However, plenty of initiatives need to be developed by government and the private sector to develop a sustainable aquaculture industry. These initiatives should involve the establishment of an aquaculture friendly legislation that would support emerging aquaculture entrepreneurs. Several financial institutions view aquaculture as a high-risk business, and as a consequence, decline financial support or loan requests from emerging farmers. Focused research as a strategic initiative to develop aquaculture species that would be first priority for local markets is encouraged. This article explores the challenges facing emerging entrepreneurs and suggests possible solutions that might assist in the development of the aquaculture sector in South Africa. We postulate that constructive and regular engagements between the government and private sector is a key to a sustainable and prosperous aquaculture sector in South Africa.
Key words: young entrepreneurs, infrastructure, legislation, finance, land, aquaculture, theft, South Africa
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