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Solar lantern used in Sardine drying and fishing at night

The Fishers Union Organisation (FUO) is Tanzania Nile Discourse Forum (TNDF) a popular member known in in fishing of Sardines. FUO has come out with a project on Renewable Energy for night fishing of Sardines in Lake Victoria. The basic purpose was to replace kerosene lanterns for fishing.

In 2005, FUO was established by a group of fishermen who are highly motivated and committed to contribute their time, skills and energies for the development and empowerment of socially disadvantaged and vulnerable communities in Tanzania alongside protecting fishers’ rights and addressing poverty issues and gender-based discrimination.

Also, the project envisaged to build capacity of fishers on innovative high quality sardine-based products as well as monitoring and evaluation.
The purpose of these interventions was to reduce food losses, improve incomes and nutrition from fishing systems.

Over the last two years, three prototype iterations and pilot projects of Solar lamps and Sardines drying solution have been carried out at Kasalazi and Zilagula islands alongside supply of solar lamps in the entire Mwanza Region.

Sardines contribute more than 70% total income in fishing areas of Lake Victoria. Night fishing of sardines constitutes about 42% of the total yearly catch of Lake Victoria alone.

Approximately 35,000 boats are engaged in this activity, encompassing Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya.

This means that over half a million liters of kerosene are exposed to the lake almost every night, emitting over 600,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. This is a prominent example of a problem which is tackled presently.

Kerosene is expensive. Up to 60% of fishermen’s monthly income is spent on fuel and maintenance of outdated and unreliable kerosene lanterns. Kerosene is dangerous and can cause respiratory illnesses, skin irritation, and most importantly, fire inducing bursts, threatening fishermen’s health.

It is harmful, threatens entire marine ecosystems, and massively contributes to greenhouse gas emission. Also, drying sardines on sand is a major challenge since it reduces market value, income, and contributes to high post-harvest loss during rainy season.

FUO and Sagar Energy Solution Ltd have initiated the new technology of using solar lamps and solar drying solutions in Lake Victoria to improve sardine value chains.

The following results were achieved through these interventions:

i. Solar technologies were developed and promoted for fishing and processing/preserving fish species
ii. Knowledge developed and disseminated for sustainable fishing and fish processing systems
iii. Improved marketing strategies and nutrition benefits from sardines

Success stories of the project

Solar Lanterns contributed to a 40% increase of income earned by fishermen. FUO in collaboration with Sagar Energy Solution Co ltd have managed to design and develop sardines drying solution alternatives, whereby three models of prototypes were developed and tested at Zilagula Island in Sengerema District.

These prototypes were used to showcase designs with similar functionality with the real plant to be established. The project will further construct plants in some islands for drying sardines.

The following are the benefits expected from this alternative:
i. Sardines are dried in three hours less than the normal drying system.
ii. Dry sardines are not contaminates with sand at all
iii. Sardine drying can be undertaken throughout the year under all seasons even during the rainfall seasons
iv. The drying solution alternative is economically beneficial to fishermen and fishing community by adding value hence increasing the sardine market value and hence price

Author: Hadija Malimusi
National Technical Support Expert /Tanzania

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