An expert in fisheries at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, Mangani Katundu, has said sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest fish supply per person and supply is projected to drop by 20 percent in the next two decades.
Katundu, a senior lecturer in food and nutrition, made the revelation at Kachulu Port in Zomba last week where they trained fishers and fish traders on how to reduce losses in the industry to achieve long-term food security.
During discussions with the locals, it was established that poor processing and management of fish are major factors resulting in losses of up to $5 billion each year.
“This weakens the economic and nu¬tritional value of fish at household, community and regional levels,” said Katundu, who is also a principal investigator at Tipindule ndi Nsomba project.
With support from Cultivate Africa’s Future Fund (CultiAF), he said they have embarked on research that involves working with fishing communities in Lake Chilwa to analyse fish value chains and understand how losses occur in fish volume, nutrient conntent and economic value.
The research team will devel¬op and pilot interventions to reduce these losses while also addressing issues connected to gender and power.
“These interventions will further include improved processing methods such as parboiling, solar drying and kilning,” said Katundu.
He said that the research team will work with policymakers to increase recognition of the importance of fish production and gender equality in national and regional policies.
“Partnerships between researchers, private sector representatives, local community members and government staff will help to build strong links with those responsible for fisheries governance in Malawi,” said Katundu.
World Fish trainer Anson Ward said research and trainings are expected to induce improved fish handling and processing methods in the communities.
“Our target is to help Malawian communities to benefit from fish with relative ease, joy and efficiency,” he said.