New Drying Racks Improve Burundi Fish Profits but Reduce Women’s Participation

Men and women fish driers, Burundi. Source: FAO

Men and women fish driers, Burundi. Source: FAO

Change is often gendered as revealed in a recent FAO post harvest fisheries report. FAO introduced simple but highly effective fish drying racks to local processors in Burundi in a project in 2004 and local people have continued to develop and use the new effective technology. An FAO short report  “Simple fish-drying racks improve livelihoods and nutrition in Burundi” tells the story of the technology, its effectiveness (drying time has gone from 3 days to 8 hours), losses from insects and spoilage are down and it needs less labour. The community has gained food without extra pressure on the fish stocks, but the gender outcome is not positive for women who previously did almost all of the drying just on the ground. With the new, better and more profitable technology, women have been reduced from 80% to 60-70% of the business, and the men who are taking over own bigger businesses. competition for the raw material is increasing. FAO notes the extra efforts needed to ensure that women maintain their competitiveness in the fish drying businesses.

The short report on the drying racks and their impact can be downloaded here: http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i2940e/i2940e10.pdf

For pictures of similar racks, visit this link:

Fishing for Peace, Burundi. FAO Emergencies – Photos 

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