The role of women in artisanal fish processing and trading on Lake Victoria (Kenya)

Lwenya, C. A. ; Abila, R. O. (2000)

This paper examines the role women in artisanal fish processing and trade along the Kenyan shore of Lake Victoria. The study was carried out with aid of a structured questionnaire administered through personal interviews. Two surveys were conducted sequentially, in which samples of fish traders and processors were interviewed. Results show that, at the artisanal level, women dominate fish trading and processing. Most female traders and processors were introduced into the fish business by their parents or spouses, while male traders have joined the fish trade mainly because the business required little initial, start-up, capital. The three main sources of financing fish businesses were: income obtained from selling farm produce or livestock, money lent by relatives and from respondents' personal savings. The most frequently traded fish was adult Nile perch, with a slightly greater proportion of men trading this fish than females, who traded mainly juvenile Nile perch. Male traders prefer to deal in fresh fish, while the largest proportion of women deal in sundried fish products. The paper concludes that there is are disparities in many aspects of fish trading and processing between men and women, and recommends improved infrastructure, increased access of women to credit facilities, improved fish processing and preservation techniques to avoid spoilage and enhancement of incomes from fish trading and processing.



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