NARO Fisheries Institute Recognized as an African Centre of Excellence

The Fisheries Institute of the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) has been designated by the African Union (AU) as an African Centre of Excellence for Research and Training in Aquaculture, Inland Capture Fisheries, and Climate Change.
The Institute, known as the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFIRRI), located in Jinja with a satellite Aquaculture Research and Development Institute at Kajjansi, was bestowed with this recognition during the AU’s second general assembly of the Aquaculture Network for Africa (ANAF) held in Naivasha, Kenya, between the 15th and 17th of January 2024.

The endorsement of research and training in aquaculture encompasses fish feeds, nutrition, and genetics. This acknowledgement follows a series of distinguished endorsements of the institute since 2018. After evaluation, a recommendation for the designation of NaFIRRI was endorsed at the Third Session of the African Union Specialised Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water, and Environment (STC-ARDWE) in October 2019. The endorsement was further upheld by the Thirty-Sixth Ordinary Session of the African Union Executive Council in February 2020.

To formalize the Institute’s designation as an African Centre of Excellence and initiate operations, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the African Union and NARO-NaFIRRI in November 2020.

Among the areas of cooperation is strengthening the capacity of African institutions for high-quality research in aquaculture (including fish feeds, nutrition, and genetics), Inland Capture Fisheries, and the impact of Climate Change on fisheries. The areas also extend to sharing information, best practices, and lessons learned. The collaboration will facilitate regional integration through diverse student courses, support the implementation of continental and regional projects and programs, increase professionalism in the sector, and improve networking and complementarity among universities and research institutions in Africa.

The collaboration also seeks to develop human capacities, and enhance knowledge and skills for effective fisheries management and aquaculture development in African Union Member States. This will be achieved through research and capacity building in Aquaculture (including fish feeds, nutrition, genetics), Inland Capture Fisheries, and addressing the impact of Climate Change on fisheries.
Additionally, the partnership will involve fostering collaboration with other selected institutions to complement each other in providing training and research for capacity building. This includes disseminating best practices, sharing human and institutional resources, and providing support in relevant disciplines.

Furthermore, the recognition sets the groundwork for NaFIRRI to generate evidence for policy support and decision-making at regional and continental levels. It aims to generate information and policy briefs for advocacy in the interest of the sector’s development, as well as building evidence-based, coherent African positions.

Established in 1947 as a semi-autonomous constituent Public Agricultural Research Institute (PARI) of NARO, NaFIRRI’s mandate includes conducting basic and applied research of national and strategic importance in aquaculture, capture fisheries, water environment, socio-economics and marketing, information communication management, and addressing emerging issues in fisheries and aquaculture.
The Institute plays a crucial role in the development and management of aquaculture and fisheries in the Great Lakes region, enjoying both national and international recognition for research in inland fisheries and aquaculture. NaFIRRI collaborates closely with leading institutions to further advance research and development in these vital fields.

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