Rapid assessment of safety of informal fish value chains in the Western Province of Zambia, June–August 2014
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Soto, R.A. 2014. Rapid assessment of safety of informal fish value chains in the Western Province of Zambia, June–August 2014. Internship report. New York, USA: Columbia University.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/76232
Fish provide an important source of income and protein to poor households. Consumption of fish within the Western province, Zambia is estimated at about five times the national average. Fishers and traders in the Barotse flood plain dry (sun-dry or smoke-dry) part of their fish catches. In the fish value chain, this high value, perishable resource gets exposed to food safety hazards and becomes a potential source of food-borne disease. A rapid qualitative assessment of the safety of the fish value chain in the Western Province of Zambia was undertaken with the use of an adapted rapid integrated assessment toolkit that focuses on the food safety hazards at each link in the chain, developed by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and with guidance from WorldFish. The assessment was carried out by conducting 55 interviews with key informants in 14 sites in the Mongu, Kalabo, Lukulu and Senanga districts of Western Province and the application of a checklist of marketplace conditions. Traders were the main source of information, although fishers and consumers were also interviewed. This is part of ILRI work on moving food safety to scale through value chains, within the Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) and the Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) programs of the CGIAR consortium. A number of food safety issues along the value chain have been identified, such as the application of chemicals intended for preservation of grains on dry fish; the use of poisons to capture fish; growth of mold on fish that have over-stayed and the lack of well-equipped market places. Recommendations from this study include: Laboratory analyses of fish for mycotoxins and possibly chemical residues, identification and evaluation of the health hazards and risks associated with the use of natural herbs to capture fish, education on, and enforcement of the proper fishing methods, key investments in market places (such as introduction of refrigeration facilities and netting to avoid flies, dust and human contact) and the promotion of alternative methods of preserving the fish, such as salting.