Capacity building for fish processors
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CTA. 2005. Capacity building for fish processors. Rural Radio Resource Pack 05/4. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57418
Sirah Njie describes the training and organisation of women fish processors in The Gambia, which is being carried out by an international project.
Capacity building for fish processors Cue: Access to land tenure and to credit, and having a role in local decision-making processes are recognised as key issues for women?s development, particularly those who make a living from agriculture. But what about women whose main source of income comes from fish processing? Do they face similar problems? Not surprisingly, the answer is yes, they do. Large quantities of fish are wasted, or sold at low prices, because of the difficulties involved in getting them to a market in a good condition. And processors who lack funds may struggle in accessing both the fish themselves, and the equipment they need to process and transport them. On the coast of The Gambia women dominate fish processing. Recently the importance of their role has been recognised by the FAO and the UK government?s Department for International Development, who are funding a wide-ranging project to support fish processors, through training, group organisation and raising awareness among local planning and financial institutions about the challenges they face. The project is currently in a pilot phase, and Ismaila Senghore spoke to Sirah Njie, the project manager. IN: ?The women they always lament? OUT: ? plans that were not there before.? DUR?N 4?02? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Sirah Njie, on a wide-ranging project to support women fish processors in The Gambia. Transcript Njie The women they always lament on accessibility to fish supply. They do not have access and control to the fisheries resources. Most of them they do complain about insufficient working capital. That is basically the reason why most of them are operating on a small-scale basis. And most of them are also lamenting that they do not have sufficient processing facilities that they can use to at least process their fish. The women are the major work force within this post harvest sub sector. So it is important that all these constraints need to be addressed. Senghore Are you going to offer training in management of credit for example? Njie Absolutely yes. The pilot project will be training them because we realise that you cannot give credit facility services or you cannot construct processing facilities without training them on how to manage these facilities. A pilot project will be training these primary beneficiaries on business and financial management. There will be training the beneficiaries in adult literacy, so at least they are able to know how to manage their business activities. The pilot project will also be training these beneficiaries on fish handling and processing. Senghore So in your anticipation how much do you think this project will go in reducing poverty? Njie Let me just give you an example. For example if you trained these fish processors on proper fish handling and processing under good hygienic conditions for them to know that this is the way that it should be done and then given the proper smoking facilities that they do require then I think they will be able to at least produce high quality fish. And at the end of the day if they do produce high quality fish which will at least fetch good prices at the market and I think that it will also increase their income. Most of them do complain about lack of credit services. If they are organised properly and they are linked with microfinance institutions that can provide them with these credit services, and based on the training that they will be having on business management, financial management, they will be able to at least manage their businesses properly, and that will I think also improve their livelihoods. And I think it will also reduce their vulnerability as well. Senghore Coming back to for example the constraints that maybe inherent in the project, what do you think are the main constraints that need to be looked at in order to facilitate the smooth running of the implementation? Njie Most of the post harvest operators are all lamenting about inadequate smoking facilities, improved drying racks, access to road services. And I think it is important here to at least work with the local government authorities to get the post harvest operators involved in the decision-making processes, especially in the local development plans. For these local development plans to address some of the constraints that these post harvest operators are facing. This is one of the reasons why the local government is one of our key partners because we are trying to involve the post harvest operators to be working with these local government authorities in their different areas so that they will be able to be addressing some of their needs in their local development plans that were not there before. End of track.