World Bank Group Study of the Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika Fish Trade

Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia

Advance Africa was contracted by the World Bank Group in 2018 study was to identify primary and secondary infrastructure interventions that would contribute towards improving fish quality, reducing postharvest losses and increasing revenues along the fish value chains of Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika.

Both lakes support fisheries value chains comprising a number of different actors performing a range of activities. The primary value chains include Nile perch, Nile tilapia, dagaa and haplochromines from Lake Victoria, and kapenta and mikebuka from Lake Tanganyika.

Based on predicted short-medium term fish supply, the dagaa, kapenta, and Nile tilapia (fisheries and aquaculture) value chains were prioritised for infrastructure interventions.

These fisheries are artisanal, and their value chains support hundreds of thousands of people whose livelihoods are highly sensitive to fluctuations in fish supply. With inconsistent and/or declining catches and plans to restrict fishing effort, there may be an argument for adopting an industrial approach with improved fishing vessels and technologies in order to enhance cost efficiencies and retain profitability. While such an approach offers a viable technical solution to improving both manageability and efficiency, in the absence of mass programs to reskill and create alternative livelihoods for value chain players, the negative socio-economic impacts could be catastrophic impacting millions of people. As such, general non-disruptive projects aimed at supporting existing value chains and players are strongly recommended to deliver incremental improvements in efficiency.

Four broad categories of infrastructure development that could support these value chains were identified. These included:

1) Landing site infrastructure, including drying racks (for more efficient drying and improved product quality) and fish sheds (for storage, handling and display of fish products), and construction/upgrades of feeder roads connecting landing sites to major transport routes. These interventions will primarily support the dagaa and kapenta value chains.

2) Post-harvest infrastructure to support priority aquaculture areas and feeder roads connecting these areas to major transport routes. These interventions will primarily support the aquaculture industry although fisheries value chains will also benefit.

3) Border posts on prominent fish transport routes.

4) Market places acting as major hubs for fish trade.

Inadequate post-harvest infrastructure and poor roads linking fishers and processors to markets is a major constraint at many fish landing sites, leading to high post-harvest losses and high maintenance and repair costs for transporters. Recommended interventions to address these constraints include drying racks, fish sheds and upgraded feeder roads.  An aquaculture scoping study was conducted in order to identify the major constraints and opportunities for the development of market-led, immanent, commercial aquaculture on Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika. The scoping study identified the areas where aquaculture development should be prioritised. Fish handling facilities are needed to support cross-border trade, which remains poor and underdeveloped. Most fish markets in the region lack proper structures for handling both fresh fish and dry or cured fish. Therefore, prioritised markets and recommended infrastructure interventions were identified during the study.