Improved Processing and Marketing of Healthy Fish Products in Inland Fisheries in Malawi (CultiAF)

This project aims to improve the supply of quality fish products in Malawi by reducing post-harvest losses. Better livelihoods and nutrition Fish is an important source of nutrition in Malawi, and its fisheries sector a critical source of income and employment. Yet people are eating fewer fish. Fish supplies are low, which has resulted in declining per capita fish consumption. One of the underlying causes is how the fish are handled after they are harvested. Approximately 40% of fish harvested annually is lost during post-harvest activities. A solar solution This project aims to address the problem by testing and promoting solar tent dryers. These dryers have the potential to improve shelf life and product quality for small fish. Specifically, researchers will test drying methods for three small fish species: -Usipa (Engraulicypris sardella) -Utaka (Copadichromis spp.) -Ndunduma (Diplotaxodon spp.) The research team selected these fish for their high contribution to total annual catch, wide availability, and good nutritional profile. They will test different pre-drying methods: -no pre-drying treatment -parboiling -smoking -brining Solar dryer and business model testing Researchers will assess the solar dryers' economic performance. They will also develop and test a new business model that links private sector and women's cooperative-managed businesses to supermarkets and existing informal markets. The solar dryers are expected to use less firewood than existing fish processing methods. Researchers also anticipate the dryers will produce more hygienic fish products, resulting in -improved environmental performance -increased incomes for producers -improved nutritional outcomes for consumers Project leadership The project will be implemented by Chancellor College, University of Malawi in the Salima and Mangochi districts 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.

Project ID


Project status


End Date

Thursday, June 18, 2020


30 months

IDRC Officer

Jemimah Njuki

Total funding

CA$ 995,723



Project Leader

Levison Chiwaula


University of Malawi