(A Discussion on Post Harvest Losses, Fish Processing and Gender)
It is well known that, post-harvest losses in fisheries remain quite high; rough estimates indicating losses as high as 40% of the fish harvested. Therefore, efficient post-harvest handling of fish is of paramount importance not only in reducing post-harvest losses, but also in providing the people with a quality fish product at affordable prices. Fish processing, especially the process of drying fish, has been an important component in the fish value chain, dominating all fish processing activities undertaken by the people of this country. Dried fish making (both dried fish and maldive fish) has been traditionally undertaken by women, providing fishing families with an important source of supplementary income. Its contribution towards food security, nutrition, sustainable livelihoods and poverty alleviation has been considerable. Moreover, fish processing has also provided women fisher folk with avenues of employment and empowerment.
Yet, there are complains of the poor status of the dried fish industry and the poor quality of products; obsolete technology and poor hygienic conditions maintained at processing sites. Moreover, there have been complains of poor working conditions and wages paid to fishworkers engaged in fish processing (dried fish making). Fish processors or dried fish makers, who are often women, are being exploited by unscrupulous traders who pay prices which are considered as ‘unfair’ by the processors due to the oligopolistic fish buying practices of the merchants.
Giving due consideration to the importance of the fish processing sector, especially the dried fish making sub-sector, the SLFSSF (Sri Lanka Forum for Small Scale Fisheries) and NAFSO (National Fisheries Solidarity) have decided to organize an Interactive Platform on “Fish Processing and Gender”. Interactive Platforms are defined as “platforms that facilitate interaction among a range of academic, research, policy, administrative and political actors, who deliberate upon the relationships among their knowledge and perceptions about development issues and generate innovative ideas and strategies to improve the wellbeing of people and the economy” Such platforms facilitate interactive governance, because development issues are identified and discussed, policy guidelines are formulated and awareness is created through interaction among all relevant stakeholders. Interactive Platforms unite representatives of the public, scientific, private sectors and civil society of the territory, to strengthen the democratic mechanisms and to foster crafting regional collaboration and strategies.
It is intended to discuss the following during these ‘interactive sessions’.
Theme: Post-Harvest Losses
Aim: To understand the causes and extent of post-harvest losses and to find out means of reducing such losses
- Causes and extent of post-harvest losses at different loci in the fish value chain.
- Means of reducing post-harvest losses
Theme: Fish Processing
Aim: To recognise the role of fish processing in the fish value chain
1. Types of fish processing activities: presently carried out and potential activities.
2. Major issues/challenges that exist in the fish processing sector and the measures to resolve them (that includes the roles research, state and community actors)
Theme: Gender in Post-Harvest/Fish Processing sector
Aim: To recognise the role that women play in the post-harvest/fish processing subsector and to assist women’s participation in such work in a context of food security, sustainable livelihoods and poverty alleviation.
- The type and extent of women’s participation in post-harvest/fish processing activities.
- Extent of contribution of fish processing towards enhancing household income, livelihood security and wellbeing
- Major issues that women confront in the fish processing sector and means of resolving them (role of different stakeholder and the need for training and capacity building)
- Prof. Achini De Silva (CHAIR), SLFSSF)
- Prof. Upali Amarasinghe, (SLFSSF)
- Prof. Ruchira Cumaranatunge
- Prof. Oscar Amarasinghe (SLFSSF)
- Dr. Nilantha De Silva (SLFSSF)
- Mr. Upul Liyanage, (SLFSSF)
- Miss, Kaumi Piyasiri (SLFSSF)
- Dr. Sumana Ediriweera, (DFAR)
- Mr. Herman Kumara, (NAFSO / SLFSSF)
- Dr. Sujeewa Ariyawansa, (NARA)
- Mr. Suseema Ariyaratne, (NARA)
- Representative (CFHC), Negombo Fisheries Harbour
- Assistant Director of Fisheries, Negombo (DFAR)
- 4 fisher leaders (Fisheries cooperatives and Rural Fisheries Organisations),
- 12 women fisher folk engaged in fish processing.
- 2 Fish merchants (assemblers)
Date: 25th January 2020
Time: 9 am – 1.30 pm
Venue: National Fisheries Solidarity, 10, Malwatte Road, Negombo