Jimma university in collaboration with the University of Ghent and VLIROUS, Belgium organized an international conference entitled “Aquaculture and Food Security: Defining Potential Opportunities for the Development of Aquaculture in Ethiopia.” The conference was held from 14th – 16th April, 2016 at Jimma University College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine Conference Hall and attended by representatives from various relevant institutions from Ethiopia and panelists and paper presenters from Belgium, Uganda, Kenya, Republic of South Africa and Benin. A total of 22 papers were presented sharing experiences, practices and policies in the areas of aquaculture from different countries in Africa and beyond.
The conference was aimed at exploring current aquaculture policies in Ethiopia and other African countries, the aquaculture practices and education in Ethiopia and identifying opportunities for research and development of aquaculture in Ethiopia.
Present on the occasion and the guest of honor of the event was Mr. Sileshi Getahun, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries of the Federal Democratic republic of Ethiopia. On his educative key note speech he underlined the efforts of the government of Ethiopia to ensure food security to its citizens and fully exploiting fishery resources has become one of the priority areas in doing so. In line with that, the government established a separate ministerial office by way of improving the efficiency of the sector through the allocation of sufficient financial and human resources. He further highlighted the key areas that should be taken in to account if the sector has to grow and contribute its share to ensure food security in the country. Among others he noted the importance of collaboration among different actors and stakeholders and raising capacity and awareness of beneficiaries as key areas that needs to be taken in to account. He has also emphasized on the importance of documenting the findings from the conference as it will serve as a reference for policy makers and for scholars who may have interests to conduct further studies in the field.
Professor Fikre Lemessa, president of JU has also duly emphasized the vitality of exploring alternative sources of food for the Ethiopian citizens as part of ensuring food security and fishery resources should be marked a priority focus area. He has also highlighted the importance conducting cutting edge research on the area to forward ideas to policy makers and improve the cultural practices related to the proper utilization of fishery resources and the role of scholars engaged in the field at JU could be pivotal in doing the same.