“With the little means that we have, we just make enough profit to cover our cost,” says Anastasie Obama, who has been running her own business smoking shrimp in Cameroon’s capital Yaoundé for years.
“As a little child, I was fascinated to see women preparing seafood,” she says. “When I was seven years old, still going to school, I would buy shrimp for my aunt, I would smoke it and we would sell it. That’s how it started.”
Cameroon sits on the Atlantic coast where Western and Central Africa meet. It was named “Rio dos Camarões,” or, “River of Prawns” by Portuguese explorers, because of the abundance of the crustaceans they discovered in the area.
Today, shrimp is Cameroon’s main seafood export product. The shrimp sector employs around 1 500 people and provides healthy food to many people. But shrimp traders struggle to expand international reach and to meet domestic demand, while concerns exist over environmental impacts.
“It is hard for us to get fresh seafood and to conserve it,” says Anastasie, explaining how COVID-19 has depressed the local market even more. “If we had some capital we would get a cold chamber to stock our fish and only smoke when we had an order.”
FISH4ACP, a global initiative supporting sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, is helping women like Anastasie Omaba to unlock the potential of the shrimp sector in
Cameroon and support the African nation in making this value chain more competitive and sustainable. This contributes to economic growth, increased food security and a reduction in the sector’s ecological
FISH4ACP is led by the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) with funding from the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
More information here: http://www.fao.org/in-action/fish-4-acp/resource-detail/en/c/1410586/