Fish agri-food systems are vital to food and nutrition security and sustainable agricultural livelihoods. Fish consumption is currently contributing more than 20% of the protein consumed from animal sources in Africa. This is expected to grow by 25-48% in the next ten years and the price is likely to increase at 1% per year in Africa. About 12.3 million men and women in Africa depend on fisheries, aquaculture and related industries as a source of income and employment, with women making up more than a fourth of this work force. Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) are the source of fish and other aquatic products and are vital for agri-food systems for rural and urban consumers. They are a source of dietary diversity and quality through their diversity in production.
The future of the aquatic agricultural systems received the attention of technocrats and practitioners from key stakeholders’ organizations. WorldFish in active partnership with FARA, NEPAD Agency of the Africa Union Commission and GFAR organized a week long foresight analysis workshop focused on ‘exploring futures of fish in food systems and aquatic agricultural systems’ between the 13th– 18th of July 2015 at the Chaminuka Lodge in Lusaka, Zambia. The foresight analysis was facilitated by Robin Bourgeois, the Senior Foresight expert of GFAR and Bunmi Ajilore, the YPARD foresight ambassador. The 23 participants at the workshop were drawn from Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Madagascar and Swaziland and technocrats from the organizing regional organizations.
The foresight analysis followed a participatory prospective analysis method involving identification of driving forces, measuring mutual influences, scenario framing and backcasting. The analysis identified six major driving forces for the future vis., land tenure and competition, access to water, trade policies, agricultural and fishing practices, profitability of aquatic agricultural systems activities and, policy implementation. Several plausible future scenarios were defined from the five days rigorous analysis using qualitative and quantitative tools. These issues would be able to provide guidance while developing initiatives and policy options to orchestrate the achievement of the desired futures and prevention of undesired futures for the aquatic agricultural systems in Southern Africa.
It was proposed that a similar foresight analysis will be needed for the other sub-regions in Africa.