Spotlight on Suez: updates on one of Africa’s most ambitious aquaculture projects to date

What is the initial objective of the project and what has been achieved so far?

Fish farming in general in Egypt tries to reduce the gap between consumption and production as little as possible.

The Suez Canal Company for Fish Breeding and Aquaculture developed on an area of ​​7,000 acres divided into three sectors, each sector containing sedimentation ponds, corridors, canals, drains and service facilities along 21 km of the eastern bank of the Suez Canal in the Sinai. Peninsula, with a depth of 1.5 km.

Currently, 300 basins are actually operated on an area of ​​428 acres and 384 are being developed on an area of ​​784 acres in one sector out of the three.

What species and how many tonnes of fish does the project currently produce per year?

Sea bream, bass, lean, prawns, red mullet and tilapia.

We are currently producing a third of the capacity of one sector, and the other two are in development. Therefore, the quantities produced were not equal to the target quantities of the project, but they actually contribute to meeting local consumption in the canal towns. It should produce around 200 tonnes of shrimp this year and a larger production of sea bream and sea bass.

Is the project fully integrated vertically – from food production, to fish production, to processing?

Currently, procurement and preparation of a processing plant are underway. In the future, after the development phase of the chains, hatcheries will be set up for the project until self-sufficiency in seed is achieved to supply the huge quantity that will be required by the ponds, as well as the establishment of a food factory.

Does the project have an export objective?

Yes, there is an objective to transform Egypt from a consumer country to a productive country and to export Egyptian fish according to the highest export codes in the world market in the name of the Suez Canal.

Indeed, the first exports took place, but it was not direct. Therefore, we are currently developing the establishment of the processing factory until the products are exported without any middleman.

What are the most important factors for the agricultural component of the project?

The earthen ponds are an essential element in the quality of production inputs, and the soil is natural soil, while the water from the Suez Canal is a natural source for the ponds, making our products natural.

Oxygen levels and fish growth are ideal due to water quality standards, and excess oxygen is in the water due to giant ships passing through the channel. The fry come from wild sources and local hatcheries that have approved certificates. Food is sourced from international companies and there are several doctors and university professors present who are responsible for nutrition and the rest of the supervision and other processing operations. We also provide a transportation fleet to move the products directly to maintain their quality.

What is the biggest success of the project so far?

The greatest achievement from my point of view is the current development plan, which is carried out through high technology under the supervision of many Egyptian consultants and engineers. This aims to:

  • Increase the efficiency of the fish ponds, all main and secondary farm roads and the pond irrigation and drainage system.
  • Increase the target culture area to achieve the highest possible production rates from ponds.
  • Reduce the maintenance period between each crop cycle.

What challenges remain to be overcome?

The most important challenge that will remain is the periodic monitoring and measurement and protection of the basins against any external factors or meteorological influences.

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