Reducing gender disparities in Mozambique fisheries and aquaculture value chains

Woman street-side fish vendor. Photo: Norad report

A new Norad report by Cecile Brugere and Bodil Maal has delved into gender roles in the fisheries and aquaculture value chains in Mozambique, finding that women play a large role in the fisheries value chain, but their social organization is not strong. Women dominate aquaculture production but the aquaculture value chain is still only weak, with most fish sold at the pond-side. The authors identified a number of potential entry points for women in the value chains.

Fact-finding mission – Study of fisheries and aquaculture value chains in Mozambique: How to reduce gender Discrimination in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors by Cecile Brugere and Bodil Maal

Executive summary

A fact-finding mission about the role women play in fisheries and aquaculture in Mozambique was conducted between January 28 and February 14, 2014. The mission’s objective was to document the participation of women in two value chains: The smallscale capture fisheries value chain and the aquaculture value chain. A value chain is defined as the full range of activities that businesses go through to bring a product, in our case the fish, to the customers. Our task was to identify entry points for improving the work condition and creating equal access to resources and opportunities for women in the two value chains. We studied the two value-chains in Gaza Province.

The capture fisheries value chain is well established. Male fishers are typically involved in the production of the commodity (resource management and catch), and women are predominantly engaged in trading activities. The social organisation of women traders is very weak. Women are under-represented in local fisheries management committees and credit and savings groups. This largely constrains their access to fish preservation equipment (e.g. cool boxes). The lack of such equipment makes it difficult to distribute fish to remote rural areas.

The aquaculture value chain, on the other hand, does not include post-harvest traders and operations. In most cases, fish produced is sold at the pond by the aquaculture producers to the local villagers. Aquaculture producers operate either individually or through associations of producers. These associations have been established to facilitate the dissemination of aquaculture know-how. In contrast to the capture fisheries sector, women dominate aquaculture production. This is a result of specific targeting of women by the government extension officers. Lack of feed and fingerling supply currently constrains the development of aquaculture. The capacity of the aquaculture administration at provincial level is also currently inadequate to satisfy the information and support needs of new producers.

The mission identified the following areas as possible entry points towards the further involvement and improvements for women engaged in the small scale capture fisheries sector and the aquaculture sector:

In the aquaculture value chain:

  • Nursing of tilapia fry for the production of fingerling in individual small production units.
  • Preparation of fish feed and/or pond fertilizer in individual small production units.
  • Improving access to funds and credit.
  • Development of a “mentoring” role for experienced fish farmers towards newcomers in the sector.
  • Recognise officially the aquaculture producers’ associations.
  • Development of post-harvest activities and networks (trading and distribution of fish).

In the capture fisheries value chain:

  • Improve the organisation of women fish traders.
  • Increase the participation of women in credit and savings groups.
  • Advertise and promote the benefits of fish consumption.

Regarding both the capture fisheries and aquaculture:

  • Create an inter-institutional “platform” to strengthen knowledge sharing and coordinated actions in the capture and aquaculture sectors.

The interventions mentioned above aim to address identified bottlenecks in value chain of the capture fisheries sector and the aquaculture sector. In addition, the interventions address shortcomings women have in becoming key agents in the production and distribution of quality fish. The interventions will however require discussion and further development by the Ministry of Fisheries and its decentralised administrations if they are retained as part of a pilot project to be funded under the cooperation agreement between the governments of Norway, Iceland and Mozambique. The design and coordination of the pilot project should be located in one province. This will contribute to enhance a more rapid implementation of activities.

The Ministry of Fisheries has shown its commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment. In addition to enhancing the conditions of women in fisheries and aquaculture at field level, it is anticipated that the proposed interventions will also support the implementation of the Ministry of Fisheries’ new Gender Strategy and strengthen the role and capacities of its Gender focal points at provincial level.

Download report here