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Between the Sun and Fish Are People: A Socio-economic Study of Solar Dryers for Fish Processing in Malawi

  • Fundi Wandisunga Kayamba-Phiri
  • Gry Synnevåg
  • Moses M. Limuwa
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Abstract

The study examined how the use of solar tent dryers has improved the livelihoods of fish processors in Chipala and Vinthenga villages in Nkhotakota, Malawi. The study used the sustainable livelihoods framework to analyse the findings. A mixed methods research design was employed in the study. To analyse the qualitative data, a thematic analysis was used, and for the quantitative data, inferential and descriptive statistics were used such as logistic regression model and t-tests. The findings showed that the solar tent dryers have improved fish processing; however, the impact of the dryers on livelihoods is minimal and not well accounted for. Some key sustainability measures were lacking and therefore posed a threat to the continued use of the method. As a result, the dryer was not in use in Chipala which indicated no impact on livelihoods. The logistic regression model indicated the village of a fish processor as a determining factor for using the dryer, due to the difference in governance structures, which affected the management of the tent dryers. Adoption was directly affected by poor governance: a top-down approach employed by different stakeholders. Adoption increased in Vinthenga as the fish processors appreciated the solar drying method as faster and less involving. However, small holding capacity of the dryer in Vinthenga resulted in an average usage of 3 times a week (n, 19). Profits from solar-dried fish were slightly insignificant at 20% during peak season (P) and 11% during off-peak season (O), as compared to the traditional methods of which the most profitable were the frying (25% (P) and 21% (O)) and smoking (20% (P) and 19% (O)) methods. Women were involved in all activities in the fisheries’ value chain except for catching fish, which is restricted to men. Gender roles and perceptions affected the socio-economic status of fish processors, as gender equality was contextualised as a monetary responsibility shift to women who were involved in fish processing and other enterprise. All factors considered, the impact of solar tent dryers has been low on the livelihoods of fish processors.

Keywords

Lake Malawi Solar tent dryers Fish processing Sustainable livelihoods Governance Technology transfer Nkhotakota 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fundi Wandisunga Kayamba-Phiri
    • 1
  • Gry Synnevåg
    • 1
  • Moses M. Limuwa
    • 1
  1. 1.Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Landscape and Society, Department of International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric)ÅsNorway

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