Project to reduce losses in fisheries

University of Malawi’s Chancellor College lecturer in food science and nutrition Charles Likongwe says the post-harvest fisheries management challenges are robbing the industry of its economic benefits.

Speaking in Nkhotakota at a stakeholders meeting last week on a two-year Business Models for Scaling Improved Fish Processing Technologies in Malawi Project, Likongwe said proper fish processing technologies could reduce post-harvest fish losses.

“About 32 percent of fish is wasted due to post-harvest losses each year. As such, the tertiary institutions in partnership with the Fisheries Research Unit, has developed fish processing technologies which include solar tent driers and improved smoking kilns aimed at cutting the losses,” he said.

In his remarks, Nkhotakota district fisheries officer Symon Ngwira said the challenges haunting post-harvest fisheries management were negatively impacting on the sector’s efforts to concentrate value-addion.

He said the fisheries sector is banking on the innovations, noting that the losses mean nobody benefits from them amid an ever-increasing demand for food observing that fish in Malawi contributes 70 percent of animal protein in rural and urban areas. 

According to the Department of Fisheries, the fishing sector employees about 60 000 fishers and indirectly employs over half a million Malawians.

The project, which is targeting fishers and processors in the lakeshore districts of Mangochi, Salima, Nkhotakota and Nkhata Bay, seeks to promote improved fish processing technologies and increase fish profitability.

Data from the 2017 Malawi Government Economic Report, fish is estimated to rake in K152 billion in 2018 from a projected output of 174 775 tonnes in 2018.

The report said Lake Malawi remains the country’s major source of fish with usipa at 70 percent, utaka at nine percent, kambuzi at four percent and chambo and kampango among the lowest catch at one percent. n

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