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. TRADITIONAL AND IMPROVED POST-HARVEST SYSTEMS FOR DAGAA
2.1. Traditional Handling/Processing of Dagaa involves:
Bulk storage on board in large baskets or heaped in the canoe causing partial deterioration of the first catches;
On landing the small fragile dagaa is transferred into smaller baskets, causing more damage;
It is then transported to drying grounds, where the fish is thrown onto the ground and spread using large wooden rakes; at sunset or before rains the fish is raked into heaps; these grounds are contaminated by fish rests, sand, dirt, people and animals;
Drying is often slow in the rainy season leading to a brittle, dark-brown, rancid product with a burning taste (histamine ?) and is reported to cause diarrhoea; obviously its price is low; this situation leads to reduced fishing effort; on the other hand, catch rates are highest during this period and much potential production is thus lost;
Storage life of low quality dried dagaa is 1.5 to 2 months, and during this time it is affected by boring insects;
The dried dagaa is packed in gunny bags.
2.2 Improved Handling/Processing of Dagaa, introduced by the Project, involves:
The use of boxes on board the canoes which reduces handling of the fish, increases its fresh storage life, avoids mixing fish of different catches, provides more space on the boat and facilitates marketing of the catch;
Brining of the fish for 15 minutes in a weak brine prior to spreading on wire mesh trays (1 × 2 m, 5 mm mesh) and elevated drying avoiding contamination;
At sunset or before rains the trays are stacked and covered leaving the fish untouched;
Packing in polythene bags of 250 g;
Through the action of salt the fish is already partly preserved making it less vulnerable to deterioration during adverse weather conditions, furthermore salted-dried fish is not brittle, and is not affected by boring insects; its shelflife is 2 to 3 months.
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. TRADITIONAL AND IMPROVED POST-HARVEST SYSTEMS FOR MIGEBUKA
3.1 Traditional Handling/Processing of Migebuka involves:
(in the case of fresh consumption)
Storage on board in large baskets or just in the canoe;
At landing, transfer to smaller baskets or to basins;
Transport to market by foot or bicycle and display on tables or on mats;
As no ice is used at present, the marketing radius is limited to about 20 km from landing site.
(in the case of smoking)
At the smoking site the ungutted, uncleaned migebuka is coiled into a ring, which is slotted on a stick and hung over a pit for 6 to 7 hours smoking over an open fire made in the pit;
The fire is close under the fish (the depth of the pit is about 50 cm) and the fish is charred on the outside while still moist inside limiting shelflife to between 2 and 4 weeks;
The black coils are packed in baskets or boxes lined with old clothing, leaves or paper.
3.2 Improved Handling/Processing of Migebuka involves:
Storage on board in boxes (eventually the use of ice and insulated containers should be introduced for fresh fish consumption);
Butterflying, removal of guts, cleaning, brining in a weak brine for 20 minutes, dripdrying, smoking on mesh wire trays on a Chorkor oven for 2 to 4 hours, giving a product with a shelflife of 2 to 3 months;
Individual packing in polythene bags.
4. PRESENT CONSTRAINTS TO THE INTRODUCTION OF IMPROVED TECHNOLOGIES
Poor infrastructure: poor roads and lack of transportation; though processed dagaa and migebuka are marketed throughout Tanzania, the bulk is exported to Zaire, Burundi and Zambia.
Lack of capital: in order to produce fishery products using improved technology, capital (credit) is required for purchasing items such as trays, cellophane tubing and for buying fresh/dried dagaa.
Time is required and the complete change is expected in about 10–15 years; however the project is expected to end in 2 years and the present endeavours in decreasing post-harvest losses may not pay off.
5. NEEDS FOR CREDIT
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.
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.
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.
Credit for fishing equipment
The equipment is the collateral. In cases where the loanee fails to repay the loan, the equipment is confiscated and auctioned. Since fishing gear is scarce, the gear usually sells at a high price even when it is worn out.
Special fund for women
Collateral depends on the project. In the case of animal husbandry, the applicant should have drugs and shelter for animals.
Cash loans from FAO
No collateral is required but is planned to be introduced.
5.3 Schedule of Payment of Interest and Capital
Credit for fishing equipment
The applicant is given a grace period of 3 months from the date of receipt of the loan. Interest is 15%. Repayment in equal monthly instalments is scheduled over 36 months.
Special fund for women
Commercial loans are repaid after a grace period of 3 months (negotiable with the CRDB). The grace period for poultry and pigs is 6 months. That of dairy cattle is not more than 12 months. Repayment is in equal monthly installments over 18 months in the case of animal husbandry and 36 months for commercial projects at an interest rate of 13%.
Cash loans from FAO
There is no grace period as they were given on an experimental basis and payment was within 6 months.
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.