Category Archives: Mozambique

Women’s voices, gender equity champions and a gender lens all matter – converging messages from GAF6


A Thai woman gets ready to process threadfin salmon for the market. Photo: Supaporn Anuchiracheeva, the Small-scale Fishers and Organic Fisheries Products Project.

In bold outline, the take home messages from the GAF6 full report – Engendering Security in Fisheries and Aquaculture – converge on the following: women’s voices and gender equity champions  can make a real difference; and a gender lens lets us see inequalities and how to remedy them. These points were woven through the 68 rich and varied presentations, panels, posters and workshops of GAF6. Read the full report here, see the take home messages below.

  • Participants were urged to focus on gender relationships, not simply roles, and on intersectionality, as women’s and men’s lives were interconnected and gender interacted with other systems in society, e.g., cultural, political and economic structures.
  • The 2014 Small-Scale Fisheries Voluntary Guidelines are opening up new policy space on gender equality. Yet, in implementing the Guidelines, women have been deterred from taking part in decision-making, are invisible in most fisheries statistics and their interests excluded from national policies – unless NGOs and women’s groups have advocated for inclusion. Even when women’s needs are recognized, money and expertise may not have been allocated. In a hopeful sign, some recent projects are committed to gender equality.
  • Aquaculture is gendered. Gender roles and relationships in aquaculture follow typical social patterns of ownership, rights and power. Unless they break out as entrepreneurs, women are positioned in small-scale, near-home, and low technology aquaculture, or as low-paid labour in medium and industrial scale operations. Nevertheless, small-scale household aquaculture can fulfill important subsistence roles and be improved to better satisfy food security and nutrition.
  • A persistent thread on fair livelihoods in fish value chains was that gender equality and equity must be fought for, and protected by active measures, rather than expecting it to happen through a sense of natural justice.
  • Using a gender lens brings deeper understanding of climate and disaster adaptation. Flexibility, versatility and agency are keys to people’s resilience. Gender-blind efforts to help people adapt should always be challenged.
  • Real progress in securing gender equality will not be achieved unless social norms are transformed.

Read the whole GAF6 report here – Link

1-2-3: Counting the ways women access fish

Women fish processors in Sokone, Senegal. Photo: Robert Lee, FAO.

Women fish processors in Sokone, Senegal. Photo: Robert Lee, FAO.

In a recent FAO report (A Review of Women’s Access to Fish in Small Scale Fisheries), Angela Lentisco and Robert Lee have gone beyond the typical portrayal of women as fish processors and marketers have reviewed and categorized three main ways in which women access fish in small scale fisheries. First is primary access through fishing and financing/owning fishing operations; second is through close personal relationships including family; and third is through the normal purchases. By conceptualising women’s access in this more structured way, policy and action to assist women’s empowerment and equality in fish value chains can be better formulated. Angela and Robert first explored this approach in their paper resulting from their paper at the 4th Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries (GAF4) – read their earlier paper here.

The report, FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular 1098 can be downloaded at this link.

Abstract: Women play a critical role in every link of the value chain in small-scale fisheries, although their best-known roles are in processing and marketing of fish and other fishery products. This perception of the highly gender-segregated division of labour (men fishing / women processing) has shaped the generalized approach in supporting development initiatives for small-scale fisheries. More often than not, this approach targets men as fishers, and women as processors and marketers of fishery products. However, this generalization has also made fisheries governance blind to women’s other valuable inputs to the sector. In fact, their roles can and should go beyond postharvest and marketing. However, the lack of utilization of their additional contribution has deterred, for example, women’s participation in fisheries resource management and policy decision-making.

The present review aims to move policy attention beyond the generalized, and perhaps limited, perception of women as fish processors and marketers and in this way enhance their participation in fisheries resource management and decision-making. The study describes the different ways women have access to fish in small-scale fisheries: as primary users (when they fish by themselves or they finance fishery operations), secondary users (when they access fish through kinship or other close relationships), and tertiary users (when they use capital to buy fish directly from fishers or traders). The review provides case studies to illustrate some of the issues that tend to keep women in marginalized positions along the value chain. Factors and processes that can contribute to improve women’s participation and decision-making in small-scale fisheries, such as those that challenge conventional approaches based on traditional or “typical” gender roles and obsolete institutional arrangements, are also given. The document also discusses how participation can be improved by raising awareness on gender equality issues along the value chain through applying a gender lens, by providing appropriate support to women’s organizations, including formal recognition of their professional activities, by understanding the socioeconomic context and the particular needs of small-scale fisheries, by giving due attention to power and power relationships, and by taking greater account of the contribution of women in fisheries. As neither women nor men form homogenous groups, the challenge is even greater for women to have access to productive tools and services, which if secured can give them a greater say and control over fisheries resources, thereby increasing their social capital and financial capital. These reflections can be introduced in existing resource management arrangements such as co-management or community based management, and can probably empower women and improve their participation in fishery resource management decision-making.

The reflections in this review can and should be used as guidance and discussion material to develop interventions under the Global Assistance Programme in support of the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication.

Reducing gender disparities in Mozambique fisheries and aquaculture value chains

Woman street-side fish vendor. Photo: Norad report

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

Overcoming Gender Inequalities in Fish Supply Chains

Panelists in IIFET Gender and Value Chains Session, July 2012.

“Gender equality thinking should not focus just on the numbers of women and men in fish supply chains”, said Gifty Anane-Taabeah (Ghana), the final panelist on Overcoming Gender Equalities in Fish Supply Chains. The panel and two presentation sessions (Markets and Value Chains for Small Aquaculture Enterprises and Looking at Fish Supply Chains with a Gender Lens) were held on the first day of the 2012 conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET) in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Rather, Gifty contended, “the overall aim should be how to empower women and men in supply chains to boost overall productivity.”

In July 2012, the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET) held its biennial conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  On the agenda, thanks to IIFET and the Aquafish CRSP, were sessions that included or focused on gender in aquaculture and fisheries, especially on value chains for small scale aquaculture and fisheries. The reports from the sessions are now starting to appear on the conference  repository website (

Read these reports for a start (others to be posted on the site):

VALUE CHAINS SESSION INTRODUCTION by Dr Hillary Egna: download here

SUMMARY OF THE GENDER AND VALUE CHAINS  sessions and papers by Presenters and Meryl Williams: download here

The above reports  include summaries of papers of global reach and more specific regional and country studies from:

AFRICA: Lake Victoria, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania (including Zanzibar), Uganda

ASIA: India (including Kerala), Sri Lanka

Visit the AquaFish CRSP gender page for more.

Papers that can be downloaded are:

  1. M.L. Adeleke and J.A. Afolabi. Appraisal of Fresh Fish Marketing in Ondo State, Nigeria.
  2. Salehe, Mwanahamis; Mlaponi, Enock; Onyango, Paul O.; Mrosso, Hilary D.J. Contribution of Lake Victoria Dagaa Fishery in East and Central African Fish Trade.
  3. Olufayo, Mosun. The Gender Roles of Women in Aquaculture and Food Security in Nigeria.
  4. De Silva, Achini; Bjorndal, Trond; Lem, Audun. Role of Gender in Global Fishery Value Chains: A feminist Perspective on Activity, Access and Control Profile.
  5. Masette, Margaret. Sun-dried Mukene (Rastrineobola argentea) Value-Chain Analysis in Uganda.
  6. Cheke, Abiodun. Women in Fish Value Chain in Nigeria.

New global beach seine fishing review

This new FAO Technical Paper gives a global overview of beach seine fisheries, studies the operations in several countries in depth and identifies key issues in the responsible use of beach seines and the sustainable livelihoods of beach seine fishers including women and children.

It examines women’s roles in 9 country case studies – Benin, Ghana, Togo, The Gambia, India (Andra Pradesh and Orissa), Kenya, Mozambique, Peru and Sri Lanka. Women’s roles include financing and managing the operations (Ghana), owning shares of the beach seine (Sri Lanka), helping with hauling the net (several countries), sorting the catch (several countries) and processing and marketing the catch (most countries).

Tietze, U.; Lee, R.; Siar, S.; Moth-Poulsen, T.; Båge, H.E., eds. Fishing with beach seines. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper. No. 562. Rome, FAO. 2011. 149p.