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Project

Combining Post-Harvest Fish Value Chain and Social Change Interventions in Zambia and Malawi (CultiAF)
 

Malawi
Zambia
Project ID
107837
Total Funding
CAD 1,433,599.00
IDRC Officer
Jemimah Njuki
Project Status
Completed
End Date
Duration
30 months

Programs and partnerships

Agriculture and Food Security

Lead institution(s)

Project leader:
Dr. Alexander Shula Kefi
zambia

Project leader:
Dr. Magani Katundu
malawi

Project leader:
Dr. Nyambe Lisulo Mkandawire
zambia

Summary

While fish resources are critical to the livelihoods of 700 million people worldwide, they are not achieving their full potential in Africa.Read more

While fish resources are critical to the livelihoods of 700 million people worldwide, they are not achieving their full potential in Africa. This project will examine interventions to reduce poverty and to improve food and nutrition security using post-harvest innovations in the fish value chain. Post-harvest handling in Zambia and Malawi In the Barotse Floodplain of Zambia and the Lake Chilwa Basin in Malawi, poor post-harvest fish handling is common. The result is substantial economic losses and the potential for reduced nutrients in the fish. There are other challenges. Social norms and power relations in the industry are inequitable. Women's and men's share of the economic benefits is both reduced and inequitable throughout the fish value chain. Improving conditions The project aims to improve the performance, governance, and equity of fish value chains in Malawi and Zambia. The research team's methodology will combine technical fish handling and processing practices with social innovations and gender transformative approaches. These approaches help communities understand and question the social norms that lead to inequalities between men and women. Researchers will conduct a baseline assessment of current losses in post-harvest fish biomass, economic value, and nutrient content along the local value chain. They will use participatory approaches to identify and pilot different fish handling and processing practices, including brining, solar drying, and smoking. Better practices, better lives The team will then integrate social change interventions and gender transformative approaches to address the problems in the fish value chains. These interventions, when widely adopted, are expected to yield the following benefits: -reduced fish and nutrient losses -sustained increases in economic benefits -improved equity in benefits sharing among men and women. They will also improve food and nutritional security levels. Project leadership The project is a partnership between Zambia's Department of Fisheries, the University of Zambia, and Chancellor College, University of Malawi and is funded through the Cultivate Africa's Future Fund (CultiAF), a joint program of the Australian International Food Security Research Centre of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and IDRC. CultiAF supports research to achieve long-term food security in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Research outputs

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Brief
Language:

English

Summary

This policy brief provides an overview of the project, which increased the adoption of innovations for post-harvest management of fish and addressed social norms governing benefit sharing across fish value chains. By utilizing the introduced technologies, fish processors increased their gross margins from 4.7% to 25.26%, while traders saw an increase from 22.8% to 25.3%. Poor processing and management of fish products results in losses worth up to US$5 billion each year. Limited involvement of women further weakens the economic value of fish at household, community and regional levels. Women’s ownership of fishing assets increased over the course of the project, from 44% to 76%.

Author(s)
Cole, Steven
Brief
Language:

English

Summary

Working with fishing communities in Barotse (Barotse floodplain, Zambia) and Lake Chilwa (Malawi), and other partners, the project will analyze fish value chains, including the differing roles of men and women, to understand how losses occur in fish volume, nutrient content, and economic value. Researchers will evaluate post-harvest fish processing practices to improve their effectiveness, reduce losses, and promote greater equity among the men and women who work in the fisheries sector. Poor processing and management are major factors, resulting in losses worth up to US$5 billion each year.

Author(s)
Cultivate Africa’s Future (CultiAf)
Brief
Language:

English

Summary

This brief explains the gender transformative approach which was adopted throughout the project to address harmful social and gender norms and power relations that constrain women fishery producers. The project developed and tested postharvest fish processing technologies (solar tent dryers, smoking kilns, salting) to help reduce losses. Qualitative and quantitative methods were employed to uncover the complex causes of fish post-harvest loss with a special focus on processing. Women’s Empowerment in Fisheries Index (WEFI) is a valuable instrument for application in small-scale fishery settings to assess gendered dynamics.

Author(s)
Cole, Steven M.
Article
Language:

English

Summary

The study investigated influence on decision-making powers in relation to income generated through fishing, processing, or trading fish; ownership status of key value chain assets; and changes in gender attitudes. In small-scale fisheries women often lack access to or control over fishing gear resources and assets. Results suggest that the use of a transformative approach helped build a critical consciousness at community and other levels and led to greater gains for women and the community. Extension and value chain development programs in small-scale fisheries, aquaculture, and agriculture increasingly recognize gender constraints that create disadvantages for women and other social groups.

Author(s)
Cole, Steven M.
Report
Language:

English

Summary

The project identifies and evaluates interventions to improve livelihood security and gender relations through post-harvest fish value chain innovations: first by targeting the processing node in the value chain to reduce losses and improve the quality of fish being processed; second, by piloting women-sensitive technologies that help decrease time and labor burdens of women; and third, through design and testing of social change interventions that highlight gendered roles and power relations in the value chain, and in particular within the processing node.

Author(s)
Kefi, Alexander Shula
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About the partnership

Partnership(s)

Cultivate Africa's Future

IDRC and ACIAR partnership focused on improving food security, resilience and gender equality across Eastern and Southern Africa.