Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page



V. Bashemererwa
Women development officer
FAO Fisheries Project GCP/URT/066/NET


Fish is a primary source of food and income in villages around Lake Tanganyika. The main objective of the FAO project in Kigoma (Tanzania) is to increase production and emphasis has been placed on introducing and increasing motorized catamarans and trimarans. Improvement action in the post-harvest sector of fish processing and marketing has been lagging behind. Catch handling methods and processing and marketing procedures are traditional: Stolothrissa tanganicae (dagaa) the major income earning fish is sun-dried on open beaches. Ungutted Luciolates stappersii (migebuka) is coiled into rings and smoked over shallow open pits. Both methods produce fish of low quality with a short shelflife. Post-harvest losses are high during cloudy and rainy periods. The project is now improving fish handling, processing and marketing through introduction of fish boxes, drying racks, smoking ovens and packaging in plastic bags. Training in fish processing and marketing coupled with increased credit and loan facilities is expected to reduce post-harvest losses and increase incomes. Training will also be provided in cooperatives, simple book-keeping and nutrition. Credit is provided for fishing equipment and cash loans for fish processing and marketing as well as for non-fisheries activities. Applications for loans are made through the community leadership. Thus social control is built into the scheme which efficiently reduces defaults in repayment.


Le poisson est une source importante d'alimentation et de revenu dans les villages autour du lac Tanganyika. L'objectif le plus important du projet FAO de développement des pêches à Kigoma a été d'augmenter la production du poisson. Dans ce but le projet a mis l'accent sur l'introduction de catamarans et trimarans motorisés. Par conséquent, les améliorations dans le secteur post-capture sont retardées. Les méthodes de manutention, transformation et commercialisation sont traditionnelles: Stolothrissa tanganicae (dagaa), l'espèce la plus importante, est séché au soleil sur les plages; Luciolates stappersii (migebuka) est recourbé, puis fumé sans éviscération sur des fumoirs peu profonds creusés dans la terre. Les produits de ces deux méthodes sont de basse qualité. Leur durée de vie est courte, quelques semaines au maximum. Les pertes post-capture peuvent atteindre des taux élevés dans les périodes nuageuses et pluvieuses. Aujourd'hui des actions sont entreprises dans le cadre du projet, visant à réduire les pertes et à améliorer la rentabilité dans la filière. Des caisses, des claies de séchage, des fumoirs et des sachets en plastique pour l'emballage des produits transformés, sont introduits. Les opérateurs et opératrices seront formés à la transformation et à la commercialisation, et des crédits seront mis à leur disposition ainsi que des prêts en espèces. Aussi, la gestion des coopératives, la comptabilité simple et la nutrition feront l'objet d'une formation. Des crédits sont fournis pour obtenir des engins de pêche, des prêts pour la transformation et la commercialisation du poisson, ainsi que pour d'autres activités. Les demandes sont faites par l'intermédiaire des chefs des communautés. Ce contrôle social est très efficace pour réduire au maximum les défauts de remboursement.


The FAO project GCP/URT/066/NET in Kigoma, Tanzania, on Lake Tanganyika has mainly been involved in increasing fish production through the introduction of improved fishing gear and fishing craft, mainly catamarans and trimarans.

Improvement in the post-harvest sector is lagging behind. Daily catch rates, mainly of dagaa (Stolothrissa tanganicae) and migebuka (Luciolates stappersii) are limited by lack of fresh storage life (no ice is used limiting trip duration) and by lack of hold capacity. On shore, virtually all the dagaa is sun-dried on the ground, while some migebuka is smoked. Most of migebuka is consumed fresh.


2.1. Traditional Handling/Processing of Dagaa involves:

2.2 Improved Handling/Processing of Dagaa, introduced by the Project, involves:

It is planned to also introduce smoking of the brined dagaa, in particular during rainy days, as an alternative to sun-drying. Golden brown smoked dagaa may fetch a better price. Eventually salting on board may be tried as well.


3.1 Traditional Handling/Processing of Migebuka involves:

(in the case of fresh consumption)

3.2 Improved Handling/Processing of Migebuka involves:



Through interviews and participatory observations the credit needs for fisheries and non-fisheries activities of women in 12 villages were identified. Fisheries activities included requirement of fishing gear and equipment, cash loans for fish processing and marketing. Non-fisheries activities cash loans for animal husbandry, petty trade such as charcoal, tailoring, palm oil, etc.

5.1 Appraisal of Credit Applications

• Credit for fishing equipment

Applications to the Cooperative and Rural Development Bank (CRDB) are made through the village party leadership. Project appraisals and loan memoranda are compiled on suitable applicants and presented to the loans committee for approval. The equipment includes liftnets (TSh 400 000) and beach seines (TSh 600 000). The fishing gear includes nets, ropes, floats, outboard engine and lamps.

Cash loans

  1. Special Fund for Women (Australian Fund for Women)

    Application and approval follow the same procedure as above. The loans have varied between TSh 80 000 and TSh 250 000 with an average of TSh 100 000. Activities sponsored include animal husbandry, commercial activities such as petty trade in charcoal, palm oil, etc.

  2. Cash loans from FAO income generating account

    These are small working capitals from the FAO income generating activities of fishing and selling of plant seedlings. Applicants are interviewed as individuals and groups and the loan follows immediately. It is given to the groups through the village leadership. The average loan is TSh 30 000.

5.2 Collateral

5.3 Schedule of Payment of Interest and Capital


Credit for improved fishing equipment is mainly used to acquire liftnets. Using liftnets not only increases the quantity of the catches, but also the quality is better compared to catches from beach seines. Although women can apply for loans to acquire fishing equipment, their participation has been poor. On the other hand, women constitute 98% of the petty traders in fish products, which involves fish handling, processing and marketing. The issue of cash loans from FAO has enabled women to acquire material for fish processing and marketing including fish, trays and polythene bags. It has also enabled them to transport their products outside the village.

Training in improved technologies of fish processing and marketing coupled with more and better loan facilities is expected to reduce post-harvest losses, to increase incomes and to enable women to reach more consumers with more and better quality fish.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page