Pencum Senegal women association exists since 1960. It is one of the most important fish processing sites in Dakar. It is composed of 117 processing workshops exclusively run by women. In 2015, nearly 219 people were active in fish processing activities at Pencum Senegal.
WorldFish is an international, nonprofit research organization that harnesses the potential of fisheries and aquaculture to reduce poverty and hunger. With more than 30 years of experience working with communities in Africa, WorldFish is deeply committed to the millions of poor people who rely on fish for food, nutrition and income. Together with the African Union and NEPAD, WorldFish is implementing a project on Fish Trade in Africa. The Fish Trade project is funded by the European Union and supports the strengthening of intra-regional fish trade in Africa by conducting research and generating data that informs crucial policy decisions. The project aims to improve food security and reduce poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa.
REPAO as a network of fishery stakeholders in West Africa has been involved for a long time for the emergence of consistent and sustainable fishing policies in West Africa. REPAO early understood the importance to engage "women" to boost intra-regional trade of fish products but especially for enhancing the value of fishery products. Therefore REPAO has been involved for several years in the capacity building and the role of women to boost intra and inter regional fish products. All these previous actions (meetings training workshops and exchanges, establishment of national networks of women etc.) have led today the establishment of the African Network of Women in Fisheries (RAFEP) in partnership with ATLAFCO (Conference of Ministers for Fisheries Cooperation in the Atlantic Ocean coastal states).
The assessment of the caravan was very positive according to the President of the Pencum Senegal women processors association. She said: “We thank REPAO and its valuable partners who made possible such a trade caravan. We’ve already organized three caravans (Mali, Togo and Morocco) that were hectic and sometimes not cost-beneficial. Thanks to the accompaniment of REPAO on the ground, we were not harassed. Moreover, we sold all of our products and made profits. ”
Marketing is definitely a way of allowing women processors to upgrade their position in the fish value chain. But women are aware they could gain more if they had good commercial information. They could also upgrade their position through good wrapping and packaging needed for exports. Finally they think the acquisition of a means of transportation to facilitate the movement of goods at the national level and across the sub region is crucial.
WHY A TRADE CARAVAN FOR WOMEN PROCESSORS
In Senegal, the fisheries sector occupies a prominent place in the economy. Figures of maritime fishing in Senegal reveal a broadly satisfactory macroeconomic performance both economically (exports), socially (employment) and with respect to food security (primary source of animal protein).
However the sector does not fully play its development role because the place and role of women in the sector is not fully recognized.
The key stakeholders of the fish value chain in Senegal are fishermen, wholesalers, processors (industrial and artisanal) and consumers. Women work mainly in the artisanal processing sub-sector and are completely dependent on men as far as supply and marketing are concerned.
Artisanal processing in Senegal is a sub-sector dominated by women.
This sub-sector involves traditional drying, salting and smoking technique. It plays an important role in view of the added value, employment, the dietary intakes of local populations and exports.
However, artisanal processing is still considered a marginal sector and is faced with huge constraints limiting and hampering its development: poorly developed processing site, inadequate policies, women ‘difficulties to get fresh fish in quality and quantity and market access.
Marketing of fish products is dominated by men. The stakeholders involved in marketing are usually middlemen referred to as wholesalers that come to buy the fish product from women processors and resell them at national and regional markets (Democratic Republic of Congo followed by Mali, Ghana, Togo, the Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Guinea-Bissau).
Female processors’ access to markets is essential for sustainable economic development and poverty alleviation
Better market access being a great opportunity for women to upgrade their position, Worldfish and REPAO supported a female association in Dakar called Pencuum Senegal to organize a trade caravan from Dakar to Bamako (Mali) from 15 to 22 December 2016.
The aim of the caravan is to assess the challenges and opportunities for women cross-border fish traders as they move with their fish from Dakar to Bamako