Reducing losses from fish harvests changes the work and future of Tanzania’s women fish processors

FAO’s FISH4ACP programme empowers women to address falling yields and discrimination

Women fish workers have seen that there is power in numbers and have joined an association launched by the FISH4ACP programme so that they can face sexual harassment, abuse and theft together while also helping one another build their businesses and expand trade.

©FAO/Luis Tato


When Suzana Hamimu Kaleju began working as a fish processor 30 years ago in the port of Kigoma, she used to lay the sprat, a type of herring, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika before selling her dried fish in local and regional markets.

They would get dusty or sandy so they would fetch lower prices. Sometimes goats would even eat them, but that was all she could do without drying racks or other tools. It was what she and the other local fish processors always did.

Suzana, like her mother before her, grew up in the United Republic of Tanzania, right on this lake, which borders Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. It is the world’s second largest freshwater lake and accounts for 40 percent of Tanzania’s annual fish catch. 

Small-scale fishers and fish processors, like Suzana, account for a large share of the workforce in Tanzania’s sardine, sprat and perch fisheries, a sector that employs 27 000 fishers and 11 000 processors in total.

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