Combining Post-Harvest Fish Value Chain and Social Change Interventions in Zambia and Malawi (CultiAF)
While fish resources are critical to the livelihoods of 700 million people worldwide, they are not achieving their full potential in Africa. This project will examine interventions to reduce poverty and to improve food and nutrition security using post-harvest innovations in the fish value chain. Post-harvest handling in Zambia and Malawi In the Barotse Floodplain of Zambia and the Lake Chilwa Basin in Malawi, poor post-harvest fish handling is common. The result is substantial economic losses and the potential for reduced nutrients in the fish. There are other challenges. Social norms and power relations in the industry are inequitable. Women's and men's share of the economic benefits is both reduced and inequitable throughout the fish value chain. Improving conditions The project aims to improve the performance, governance, and equity of fish value chains in Malawi and Zambia. The research team's methodology will combine technical fish handling and processing practices with social innovations and gender transformative approaches. These approaches help communities understand and question the social norms that lead to inequalities between men and women. Researchers will conduct a baseline assessment of current losses in post-harvest fish biomass, economic value, and nutrient content along the local value chain. They will use participatory approaches to identify and pilot different fish handling and processing practices, including brining, solar drying, and smoking. Better practices, better lives The team will then integrate social change interventions and gender transformative approaches to address the problems in the fish value chains. These interventions, when widely adopted, are expected to yield the following benefits: -reduced fish and nutrient losses -sustained increases in economic benefits -improved equity in benefits sharing among men and women. They will also improve food and nutritional security levels. Project leadership The project is a partnership between Zambia's Department of Fisheries, the University of Zambia, and Chancellor College, University of Malawi and is funded through the Cultivate Africa's Future Fund (CultiAF), a joint program of the Australian International Food Security Research Centre of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and IDRC. CultiAF supports research to achieve long-term food security in Eastern and Southern Africa.