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The IOC-SmartFish Programme gives support to small-scale fish processors to improve access to new markets

Zanzibar, 2 October 2015 – Processors of small pelagic fish (anchovies – locally called Dagaa) are currently limited in their choice of buyers; one market (DR Congo) takes most of the fish. To access new markets and reach new clients, it is essential to improve products’ quality and presentation. That’s why the Indian Ocean Commission’s (IOC) SmartFish Programme funded by the European Union has organised this week a training on this issue attended by 140 fish processors from 5 fish landing sites in Zanzibar (Maruhubi, Mangapwani, Potoa, Mnarani and Fungurefu).  

“We are providing the opportunity to move away from their reliance on DR Congo buyers, who currently have significant power in the value chain, whilst also helping the government to monitor fishing and trade activity and thus break the hold that these distribution systems have on the sector in Zanzibar” says Chris Short, IOC-SmartFish, Key Expert on Fish Trade.  “As a result of this initiative and the energy and commitment from the fisheries department, the government has started to implement new standards for Dagaa processing and has also started to collect revenue from the sector that was previously not possible », he underlines

The training passed on important theory concerning maintaining fish hygiene and quality during handling and processing, but also to imparted practical skills with regards to correct processing procedures.  The training is supported with additional value chain support such as providing drying racks, processing equipment, weighing and packaging equipment as well as management tools, including computers, to keep track of traded volumes. 

In the coming days, further training will be provided that will cover product packaging and market testing in Zanzibar, as well as markets on mainland Tanzania. A key aspect of this work is that it will also help to reduce losses that occur during the process of landing and processing the fish (post-harvest losses), which currently means a significant reduction in income to the sector in Zanzibar.

This training was organised following some previous training covering an additional 70 processors. The IOC-SmartFish Programme has organised 20 similar fish handling focused training initiatives in 15 countries. 

Regional perspective: In general in the East Africa region, a similar situation exists for small-scale fishers and processors, who due to the lack of consistency with quality and handling systems, as well as a lack of knowledge in terms of market opportunities, are restricted in terms of where they can sell their products and who might buy them; importantly prices achieved are generally much less than they could be as a result. The IOC-SmartFish Programme is thus targeting areas where these issues exist and providing test cases to demonstrate what can be achieved with the intention of providing a catalyst for others to follow, as well as providing capacity for Governments to better monitor the activities and ensure the structured management of the sector. This is coupled with an overall capacity enhancement in terms of regional product standards and rules-based regional trade. The overall result being a better economic outlook for the fish value chain actors and a sustainable future for the sector.

Contact :, communication officer, IOC-SmartFish Key Expert on Fish Trade

Par téléphone: +230 402 6100
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funded by European Union

Points Focaux

Burundi       Comoros
Djibouti       DR Congo
Ethiopia       Eritrea
Kenya       Madagascar
Malawi       Rwanda
Seychelles       Mauritius
Somalia       Swaziland
Sudan       South Sudan
Tanzania       Zanzibar
Uganda       Zambia


Commission de l'Océan Indien
Programme SmartFish
Blue Tower - 3ème étage
Rue de l’Institut

Tel : (+230)4026100
Fax : (+230)4656798
Email : smartfish(at)