Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries
in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication


Small-scale fisheries in Malawi are crucial to the livelihoods of many, as well as to national food security and nutrition. Due to its landlocked condition, small-scale fishing activities take place exclusively on inland waters, mainly conducted on Lake Malawi (which is also known as Lake Nyasa). Despite its key contributions, the sector still faces many challenges that threaten its sustainability.

In Malawi, under the project entitled “Implementing the Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines for Gender-Equitable and Climate-Resilient Food Systems and Livelihoods”, funded by the Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism (FMM), FAO is working to increase fish consumption, especially among infants and young children. This is achieved by supporting new and existing care groups, while providing trainings on feeding practices that include aquatic products. This work is paired with cooking demonstrations in project districts and with the compilation of a recipe book for fish-based local dishes, which will be published and disseminated in partnership with the Malawi Government, the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), and other partners.

Post-harvest losses are a widespread issue in Malawian small-scale fisheries. Thus, , with the aim to reduce fish loss, FAO conducts trainings on post-harvest fish processing techniques and preservation methods, and procures small post-harvest infrastructure and training to be used by small-scale fisheries processors in selected communities. In addition, the project organizes trainings on the use of this infrastructure and on infrastructure co-management and maintenance for beneficiaries and government officials.

On the gender front, FAO is supporting capacity building on gender mainstreaming, targeting men and women in the fisheries value chain with training on using a gender-transformative approach known as the gender household approach. The training also provides a forum for analysis of key issues that are faced by women in the industry. The household approach to gender mainstreaming is deemed ideal because it empowers all adult and youth members of a household through better gender and power relations, enables equitable access to and control over resources, assets and benefits, and aims to improve the livelihoods of all household members indiscriminately. In addition, the project is supporting women fishers’ efforts to organize into groups. It is envisaged that the groups will be linked to the national umbrella network of women fisheries that was recently launched in Malawi, the African Women Fish Processors and Traders network (AWFishNet Malawi chapter).

The FMM project is also working on the inclusion of small-scale fisheries actors in social protection schemes. To do so, a rapid assessment of social protection among small-scale fisheries stakeholders will be carried out; thereafter, social protection arrangements will be piloted in four small-scale fisheries communities.

Lastly, in order to adapt the implementation of the SSF Guidelines to the small-scale fisheries sector of Malawi and to help address existing challenges, FAO is supporting the development of a National Plan of Action for Small-Scale Fisheries in the country.

Learn more about the FMM project.