Women’s Empowerment Key to Growth in the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sectors
This post originally appeared on the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish website.
Annie Mumba sees empowering women as integral to food and nutrition security and believes that improving opportunities for women will have far-reaching benefits for communities.
“Increasing access to aquaculture and fisheries for women could reduce gender-based violence cases as there will be less dependence on males to provide for families; increase access to fish proteins, which provide micronutrients in the first 1,000 days of human life; and improve women’s participation and decision making in the sector,” Mumba said.
A fisheries technician in Zambia’s Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock Department of Fisheries, Mumba supervises extension activities related to fisheries and aquaculture in her district.
“My job is to transfer skills and knowledge to fishers and fish farmers through extension visits, demonstrations, and consultation for the sustainable development of the sector,” said Mumba.
In connection with her work in agricultural extension, Mumba assists the Fish Innovation Lab’s Fish4Zambia team by collecting data related to gender inclusion and family nutritional practices in the Lake Bangweulu fishing camps. This and other research indicate that when women have more access to income-generating activities in the agriculture value chain, their families fare better in the long run. With more access to income in the sector, women are better able to take care of their families, both financially and nutritionally.
“Increasing access to fisheries and aquaculture for women will provide many benefits in Zambia, including increased household income, especially in female-headed households,” said Mumba.
Mumba envisions a Zambia that is economically and nutritionally secure and that promotes inclusion and equity, and she sees women as a key component to that growth.
“My hope is to have 60% of women in the district engaged in the fisheries and aquaculture value chains in the next five years,” she said. “I want to have more women and children accessing fish protein in order to reduce stunting, to see Zambia a top producer and exporter of fish, and to have a food and nutrition secured district.”