The Egyptian government has launched the first phase of a US$100 million fish farm project as part of a broader national food security strategy that seeks to revive the fishing industry.
The Berket Ghalioun Fish Farm is run by the government-owned National Company for Fisheries. At full production, it is expected to provide 70% of the country’s domestic fish consumption requirement and produce more for export.
The first phase included the opening of factory plant that will produce up to 6 000 tons of shrimp and 13 800 tons of fish per annum. This includes a factory plant that will process and package up to 6 000 tons of shrimp and 13 800 tons of fish per annum.
The factory, said to be the largest fish farm in North Africa and the Middle East, will also produce ice and fish fodder. The commissioned segment includes 4 000 acres of fish ponds, nurseries and hatcheries.
The Berket Ghalioun fish project is expected to boost employment in the Kafr-el-Sheikh province by creating 10 000 direct jobs and 30 000 more in allied agricultural downstream industries. Egypt consumes close to 2.4 million tons of fish every year, but produces only 60% of that requirement.
The country’s reliance on imports to cover the shortfall is under threat from a biting shortage of foreign currency that has complicated efforts to secure suppliers. Apart from fish farming, Egypt is working to increase the size of arable land by reclaiming massive areas of the Western Desert.
To promote market gardening, Egypt also opened 20 000 of the 100 000 greenhouses set to be rolled out across the country by 2021. Efforts to revive the livestock industry include the acquisition of 24 000 head of South American breeder cattle from Brazil and Uruguay.