The Swiss embassy in Cairo and WorldFish – an international, non-profit research organisation – celebrated the completion of the Swiss-funded Youth Employment in Aswan Governorate (YEAG) project, which has provided training and business support to more than 1,000 fishers during the period from July 2017 to December 2018, a Tuesday statement of the Swiss embassy said.
The YEAG benefitted 1,976 fishermen, fish farmers, fish retailers, and young entrepreneurs, noted the statement, adding that the project supported the development of aquaculture, improved post-harvest handling, and fish processing practices, as well as developed fisheries’ management in Lake Nasser, with the aim of ensuring better livelihood for beneficiaries.
“The YEAG project represents Switzerland’s commitment to support Egypt’s aquaculture and fisheries sector which employs overall 250,000 Egyptians,” the ambassador of Switzerland to Egypt, Paul Garnier, said.
The YEAG is both important for income generation and food security, the ambassador asserted, noting that the aquaculture and fisheries sector helps provide the Egyptian population with better quality and healthier fish at low cost.
“The major goal of the 18-month YEAG project was improving nutrition and economic opportunities for the poor through sustainable expansion and management of aquaculture and fisheries in Aswan,” Harrison Karisa, WorldFish country director said.
The success stories of increased sales volumes and revenues from fishers, fish processors, retailers, and fish farmers are evidence of the tangible benefits realised, Karisa added, noting that the YEAG project is a testimony that, with right partnerships and a dedicated team, positive change can occur in a short time.
“WorldFish is thankful for the support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the government of Egypt, and partners. We are confident that if policy and regulatory hurdles are tackled, more jobs and livelihoods will be secured,” Karisa declared.
More than 1,000 fishers received 124 training sessions on best fishing and fish-handling practices, explained the statement, adding that the YEAG project placed 74 solar energy units in fishing camps in Lake Nasser. By introducing the practical and innovative solution, the project helped reduce fishermen’s’ gas consumption and provided them with electricity for sewing nets during night time.
Around 140 women fish retailers in Aswan reported improved working conditions. Some women beneficiaries used the income generated through their savings to open fish shops and restaurants.
Together, WorldFish and the Swiss embassy have supported fisheries and aquaculture value chains in Egypt for almost a decade. Both have previously supported the sector in Fayoum, Kafr El-Sheikh, Beheira, Sharqeya, and Minya, in addition to Aswan.