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Ms. Z. Mpenda, N.Y. Mdoe and K. Karantininis


The rejection of Nile perch products by the importing markets through the import bans in 1997/98 and 1999/2000 forced the industry to respond to the export market requirements of meeting the food safety standards.

In Tanzania the stakeholders in the Nile perch industry responded immediately after the first ban. The responses brought about changes in the organization of the players and activities in the industry.

Thus the objective of this paper is to assess the effects of implementation of food safety standards in the organization of stakeholders in Nile perch industry.

  • The study findings are based surveys conducted in three different periods in 2006 and 2007
  • A visit to different institutes aimed at identifying their involvement in the industry, their core responsibilities in relation to food safety standards and views on changes that have occurred as a result of compliance. The interview was carried out using checklist.
  • A focus group discussion was held at New Igombe landing site, Ilemela district aimed at:- (i) identifying effects of compliance (ii) validating the categories of fishermen and agents, (iii) get the general picture of fishing investments, (iv)identifying costs to fishermen and agents. The focus group was comprised with ten people including four fishermen, three agents, two village leaders and one dealer. The selection was random based on their perception of categories that exist in each group.
  • The questionnaire was used to gather information from a representative sample of fishermen and agents. The questionnaire focused on characteristics of the representative sample, relations of actors in the supply chain, food safety standards compliance requirements, cost and benefit of compliance. The sample included 130 fishermen and 130 agents. These were selected randomly from three districts of Ilemela, Sengerema and Ukerewe covering 31 landing sites. Two districts of Magu and Geita could not be visited because of heavy rains during the time of survey.
  • A questionnaire was also prepared for processors and sent to them to be filled. Only one of the processors responded to the questionnaire. However, prior to sending the questionnaires an interview was carried to all five processing plants using questions guideline to assess their view on food safety standards costs and benefits.
  • Direct processing and export of Nile perch from Tanzania started in 1990 after the launch of government regulation that prohibited export of whole Nile perch to Kenya.
  • Tanzania is exporting fresh and frozen fillet to European, United Stated of America (USA), Japan, Israel, East Asia and regional market. The local market consumes only a small portion of the fillet production (1%).
  • the fishing activities were conducted under the auspices Tanzania regulations of 1970, which have all the necessary requirements for quality processing rules based on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Good Hygiene Practices (GHP).
  • Inadequate enforcement:
    • Inadequate GMP and GHP for example fish processing plants were established on hired or purchased former cotton ginnery warehouses with minimal renovations
    • TBS standards on fish such as: water used in industry 93:1980; fresh fish handling and processing code of hygiene 186:1983; frozen fish handling 345:1983 and microbial 402:1988)
  • Other ill effects of inadequate enforcement:
    • Establishment of Use of un-sustainable fishing methods such as gillnets of small sizes that catch all sizes of fish, and beach seine which destroys fish breeding sites
    • Influx of large number of fishermen in the lake that threatened fish stocks signalling depletion; this is because there was no special central registration and licensing system (Gibbon, 1997)

- Why inadequate enforcement: institutional vacuum

Figure 1 Nile Perch Supply Chain before implementation of Food Safety Regulations

Source: Constructed from various literatures (Gibbon, 1997, Henson and Mitullah, 2004)

background continue
Background continue
  • Use of simple fishing equipments: minimum investment
  • 1997/98 and 1999/2000 there were import bans by the EC based on non compliance to food safety standards.
public government responses
  • The export of Nile perch in general facilitated the review of Tanzanian fisheries policy in 1997 focusing on (i) improving the fishing sector to meet the demands of export markets and (ii) enforcement of the regulations using participatory methods.
  • The government action was on time with the import ban in 1997/98 which facilitated more involvement in terms of supervision and monitoring of fishery activities in marine and water bodies in Tanzania.
  • To achieve this, there was a need for institutional capacity building
    • review of rules and regulations to reflect the reviewed fisheries Act 1970 as amended in 2003;
public government responses continue
Public/governmentresponses continue
  • The reviewed rules and regulations brought changes in the organizational set up and responsibilities in the fisheries sector: This was intensified by the complexity of HACCP implementation and inadequate capacity to monitor and audit the quality system
    • Formation of competent authority: FD approved
    • Establishment of zone offices with emphasis on quality control
    • Training of fisheries officers on issues of food safety standards
    • Acquiring improved technologies: laboratory equipments, laboratory accreditation
      • TBS with 3 parameters- total plate count, total coliform, E.coli
      • Nyegezi with 6 parameters-total plate count, total coliforms, salmonella spp, vibrio cholerae, staphylococcus aureus and enterobacteriaceae
    • Improving fishing environment: landing sites
public government responses continue1
Public/governmentresponses continue
  • To improve the enforcement of the rules and regulations the government had to
      • Forge Public-private partnership:
        • government has supported implementation of HACCP through accessibility to HACCP initial training and advice through fisheries zone office
        • The zone officers provide day to day advice to processors on quality system operations
        • Processors provide training to fishermen and agents through Fish Technologist Association
        • Processors contribution in improvement of fishing environment: average US$ 30 000 per processor
      • Encourage community participation through Beach Management Systems
industry operators fishermen responses i ncrease in number of motorized fishing boats
Industry operators: Fishermen responses:Increase in number of motorized fishing boats

Source: extracted from Tanzania Fisheries Annual Survey report 2004

category of fishermen
Category of fishermen
  • Category of fishermen by means of accessing of funds for investment capita
    • Fishermen with hiring equipments
    • Fishermen with loaned equipments
    • Independent fishermen: use own funds
  • Business size
    • Small scale: man-powered boats
    • Medium scale: use not more than 5 engine boats
    • Large scale: use more than 5 engine boats and own fish collection boat
fishermen mean level of investments capital for boat and engine us
Fishermen mean level of investments capital for boat and engine (US$)

Source: Survey data, 2006

fishing labour requirement and payment methods
Fishing Labour Requirement and payment methods
  • Fishermen employ casual labour to carry out daily activities such as fishing, guards and net menders. Almost all of the fishermen who were interviewed hire 4 casual labourers per day per boat, 2 guards for 10 boats and about 20 net menders when need be
  • Payment to the fishing labourers ranges from cash to crop share. Cash payments are per fishing trip and the amount ranges from US$ 30 to US$ 50.
  • Crop share differs from one landing site to another. During field survey two types of crop share were observed:-
    • payment by percentage of day harvest, for example:
      • at Igombe landing site casual labourers are paid 30% of the harvest.
      • at Kome island, the harvest are divided into 10% for food to both casual labourers and the owner, 30% for boat fuel, 20% for casual labourers, 5% for net menders and the remaining 35% goes to the owner of the boat.
    • Payment by harvesting turns whereby after every four harvest the fifth goes to the casual labourers.
  • Payment to security guards is on monthly cash basis at a rate of US$ 30 to US$ 60 per person.
  • The cooks, net menders and boat repairs are paid both on cash and food share
market and prices for fishermen
Market and prices for Fishermen
  • Percentage of fish sales by fishermen to different buyers

Source: Field survey, 2006

Industry operators: Traders responses:New requirements by traders to meet quality and safety standards
traders responses continue
Traders responses continue:
  • Most of the agents acquired their equipment on loans from the processors.
  • The loans are provided for five tons trucks or 15 tons collection vessels.
  • To get equipments from the processors, an agents have to
    • create trust to processors by supplying them with fish for some time or
    • be introduced by agents who have already build goodwill with a processor.
    • pay a non refundable fee of US$ 200.and
    • a guarantor who should be well known to the processor
  • Supply contracts with price are set on 3 days basis.
labour payments
Labour payments
  • Most agents employ 3 casual labourers on average.
  • In addition to the 3 employees, each truck has an inspector from the processing plant to check on fish quality and weight.
  • Payment to labourers is either in cash or fish share.
    • Cash payment is on a daily basis or per trip. For those who are paid daily the rate ranges from US$ 3 to US$ 5. For those who are paid cash per trip the amount ranges from US$ 25 to US$ 30.
    • Fish share, most agreements are based on trips whereby labourers are paid 35% to 40% of the value of total fish catch per trip.
  • To ensure quality and adequate fish, agents provide fishermen
    • with ice on agreement that they will sell their catch to them. However, the agreement is not price binding as fishermen sell at the market existing price.
    • Loaned fishing gears to fishermen. The repayment of the loan is not fixed it depends on the amount of fish catch and how quickly the fisherman wants to be free from the agent. Most of these agreements are based on trust and mutual understanding
industry operators processors
Industry operators: Processors:
  • Compliance requirements:
    • HACCP design and implementation
    • Laboratory for monitoring quality
    • Production layout, washable surfaces
    • Modern machines and equipments
  • Production of other Nile perch products such as fish maws, fish chips, carcass

EU, Asia, America, Regional markets

Far East market

Local high income earners

Local low income earners

Regional market



Grade 1 fresh and frozen fillet; and Gutted fish

Fish maws


Fish frames traders

Grade 2 soft fillet



Fish oil industry

Fish mongers/ Artisan processors





Large scale and medium scale fishermen

Boat hire in Fishermen


Small scale fishermen




Whole fish

Graded fillet

Dried fish frames

Non compliance fish

Fish maws

Dried and Salted fish

By products

Soft fillet

conclusion and recommendations
Conclusion and recommendations
  • The importance of compliance to food safety standards in fresh and processed food in accessing export market today cannot be over-emphasized. However, the quality systems introduced are relatively new in many exporting countries thus complicate its implementation. Most exporting countries require major institutional capacity changes in terms of technology, skills and finance to address and implement the systems
  • Nile perch fillets from Tanzania has been exported to Europe since mid 1980s, however, the imports bans in 1997/98 and 1999/2000 based on non compliance to food safety standards created a shock to the government and the industry which required immediate attention that resulted into changes in the organization of the industry.
  • The pressure to meet the standards forced governments to enforce national standards stipulated in national rules and regulations in addition to adapting international standards. In the process new strategy of quality control were formed such as zone offices, private-public partnership and community participation, new technology such as accredited laboratory and new skills such as quality systems auditing were acquired.
conclusion and recommendations continued
Conclusion and recommendations continued
  • At the industry level, high investments to players in the supply chain forced them to forge inter- and intra firm relationships to ensure access to improved technology, finance, quality products and markets at reasonable costs.
  • As much as compliance to food safety standards has increased exports values, there some hidden effects that needs to be addressed nationally. These include access to finance by fishermen and agents, unfavourable selling contracts, few local investors in Nile perch processing and over fishing.
  • Recommendations on the above are to provide suitable environment for accessing finance, training of fishermen on contract procedures and negations, encourage partnership between foreigners and nationals in fish processing, provide written guidelines on investment on fish processing and increase efficiency of surveillance for sustainable fishing.