Empowering Women Fish Retailers (EWFIRE)

Since the 1980s, aquaculture production in Egypt has grown rapidly, adding substantially to the supply of affordable fish to domestic markets. As a result, aquaculture markets have become a strategic food sector that contributes to nutrition security and sustains substantial employment opportunities for informal retailers, many of whom are women. However, the informal nature of fish retailing can result in different forms of insecurity relating to insufficient lending arrangements, risk of postharvest losses and poor returns, and threat of harassment or arrest.

Research suggests restrictive gender norms and attitudes particularly impact women’s retailing businesses, resulting in smaller enterprises, more limited diversity of species and lower value products being sold compared to men retailers.

The Empowering Women Fish Retailers (EWFIRE) project will be implemented in Sharkia, Lower Egypt. Through its interventions, the project will test different value chain development strategies for improving women’s economic empowerment (defined as employment generation and improved profitability).

Targets

EWFIRE will deliver on its main targets of economic empowerment of women fish retailers through seven outcomes. These relate to the improved capacity of women beneficiaries regarding their social capital (group membership, legitimacy, bargaining power, market linkages); physical resources (processing centers, equipment); financial resources (village savings and loan associations, formal credit markets); human resources (technical training, business development skills, market information and online resources); and the establishment of new product lines and sustainable business models.

The project will deliver on these targets through five activity work plans. These relate to supporting development of women-led retailer collectives; establishing/equipping five fish processing centers; delivering training on conflict resolution, entrepreneurship and marketing; developing sustainable business models; and strengthening market relations of women retailers.

The project aims to generate full-time employment for 300 women through the establishment of 50 new women-led enterprises and improve the profitability of 100 existing women retailers.

Research and training center supports growth of aquaculture in Africa

By 2025, African governments hope that 40% of the total fish consumed in Africa will be met by aquaculture. Ongoing research and training provided by the WorldFish-run Africa Aquaculture Research and Training Center in Egypt will be critical to achieving this goal. Since opening in 1998, the center has developed a faster-growing strain of Nile tilapia and trained over 1690 individuals from 105 countries in aquaculture techniques.

A Gendered Value Chain Analysis of Post Harvest Losses in the Barotse Floodplain, Zambia

Do women or men in the Barotse floodplain in Zambia experience higher post harvest fish losses? Why? And what’s the impact – both financially and physically to the fish? The answers to these questions, shown in this presentation, are helping WorldFish design and test appropriate innovations, including ways to overcome harmful norms, behaviours and power relations in the post harvest losses context.

Reviving traditional land management in Zambia

Every year Zambia’s Barotse Floodplain is inundated by seasonal rain, transforming its expansive, flat grasslands into an immense inland sea.

Home to more than 240,000 people, the 1.2 million hectare plain is traversed by a network of man-made canals that deliver water to homes and farmlands during drier months and reduce the severity of flooding during the wet season by carrying floodwater away from villages and farms.

Community theatre inspires women fish retailers in Egypt

Exposed to the intense Egyptian sun, a woman sits by the side of a dirt road selling freshly harvested tilapia from a local fish farm. Tired after rising at dawn to buy her produce, she is approached by a man who demands that she pay him a fee for her roadside stall or he’ll force her to sell elsewhere. She protests, but with no work license or union support there is little she can do. Their exchange escalates and the man upturns her icebox in anger, spilling her fish across the road.

Aquaculture training helps Egyptian farmers increase profits

Forming a vast grid across the flat, dry countryside, Egypt’s aquaculture ponds sit side-by-side in designated fish farming zones.

Employing more than 140,000 people full time, the industry has boomed over the last two decades and continues to grow at a rapid pace, attracting new fish farmers like Abdel-Wahab Abdel-Hamid Mahmoud who left his job in the poultry industry after recognizing the market demand for farmed fish.

Giving women a voice in Ghana’s coastal resource management

For centuries the vibrant coastal communities of Ghana’s Western Region have relied on wild caught fish from the once fertile waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Today, fish remains a staple food for even the poorest in these communities and is critical to Ghana’s food security, with a national per capita fish consumption rate 44% higher than the global average.

However growing competition at sea, dwindling fish stocks and a lack of enforcement of fisheries laws, among other factors, have fuelled destructive and illegal fishing practices that have further depleted stocks.

Combining aquaculture and agriculture to promote food security in Malawi

Malawi is one of the world's least-developed countries. Its economy is heavily based in agriculture, with a largely rural population. Many of its more than 15 million people are in need of food assistance.

The food security situation in Malawi is precarious as the country is prone to natural disasters, from drought to heavy rainfalls, putting it in constant need of thousands of tons of food aid every year.

Fish farms help boost nutrition and income for HIV affected in Malawi

In the village of Chiunda in southern Malawi, bicycles were the first sign that things were going well. Owning a bike is a luxury and there presence indicates that there’s enough money for food, clothes and school fees.

The reason for this relative wealth: 47 fishponds owned by 32 farmers that serve as a major source of income and nutrition for the majority Chiunda’s 225 residents.  

"Because of our fish ponds, all of these people bought bicycles, and most of us have cell phones,” explains Agnes Kanyema, a retired schoolteacher.

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