Fish value chain dynamics: livelihood opportunities and challenges for small-scale farmers in Lusaka district

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Kafumukachemilu, Elisha
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The University of Zambia
This study explored opportunities and challenges in the fish value chain of small-scale farmers in the Lusaka District. Three objectives underpinned this study: To understand policy frameworks guiding fish value chain expansion; to identify the key actors in the Fish Value Chain and their roles; and to examine opportunities and challenges for small-scale farmers involved in the fish value chain in Lusaka District. Quantitative and qualitative research methods were used in order to generate first hand opinions and experiences from small scale farmers and key informants. The sample consisted of fifty-six (n=56) registered small-scale fish farmers were included in the study and 12 key informants deemed to be knowledgeable in various aspects of the fish value chains in Zambia. Information was collected through researcher administered questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, observational methods and examination of policy documents. The researcher analyzed the data using descriptive statistics, thematic analysis and content analysis. The response rate was 93%. The findings also show that fish value chains in Lusaka are an integrated matrix of roles and relationships between actors from the government, the private sector, civil society, and the donor community. The roles of government institutions are policy setting and strategic planning; regulation and law enforcement, provision of financing, and also research and technical support. Donor agencies are largely involved in the provision of finance and also in providing technical assistance to the fisheries sector. The role of the formal private sector is to conduct research and provide technical services and also to provide finance. They are also leading players in commercial activities. Depending on their special designation, these organizations can be involved in fish extraction from natural water bodies or the production of fish in large to medium scale aquaculture. They additionally, conduct fish processing activities (freezing, drying, smoking, canning, infusion of additives, and so on); transportation and distribution as well as wholesale and retail activities, all of which are done on a strictly commercial basis. Informal private sector actors largely engage in fish extraction from water bodies, micro-scale aquaculture. Civil Society perform the functions of sub-sectorial policy setting and planning in coordination with the line government ministries. They also provide technical support and finance in coordination with government and donor agencies. These organizations additionally have commercial ventures at different stages of the food value chain. Traditional authorities are key partners with the government in community-based natural resource management including the management of fisheries activities in rural areas. Research organizations have a primary function of generating evidence-based analysis and overall statistics that will inform policy decision making and also facilitate the process of monitoring and evaluation of results. End consumers are the ultimate beneficiaries of all policy initiatives in the fisheries sector. These stakeholders create demand for fisheries products and this demand is what will determine the business strategies of commercial entities and the policy priorities set out in the fisheries sector. Consumers can also form a feedback loop with policymakers by providing information on the effectiveness of the policies, the efficiency of the value chain coupled with the possible changes and innovation that are needed in the sector in terms of new policy initiatives, new regulatory
Fish value chain--Challenges. , Fisheries--Economic aspects--Victoria, Lake. , Fish industry--Zambia.