Connecting fish producers and processors: networking event in Erigavo
30 January 2024
Following the official opening of the fish market in Erigavo, the main town in Sanag, an event was organized in December 2023 to connect fish producers to traders and processors. The event was opened by the incoming Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Development, H.E. Raabi Abdi Mohamed Mohamud, and Mayor Ismail Haji Nour of Erigavo municipality. The event was attended by six cooperatives from towns from Erigavo up to Berbera, around 60 fish business owners, and national fish processors and exporters such as SomTuna and Zakia Fishing. The event was organised as part of the SDF-funded Artisanal Fisheries Project.
This fisheries project aimed to improve the livelihoods of artisanal fisherfolk along the Sanag coastline by increasing productivity, resulting in improved food security and more employment. This was to be achieved through organising the fishing communities into marketing cooperatives, training fishermen to increase their catch, providing modern equipment, and building critical infrastructure to strengthen the value chain including constructing a new fish market in Erigavo.
While equipment and infrastructure developments are essential foundations, growing the market depends on developing the interconnections between key business actors and the fishermen who bring in the catch. Both the Ministry and Somaliland Development Fund (SDF) believe that strengthening supply chains and creating a marketing network is key to realising the potential of fish production in the Sanag region. The market connection event, on top of other project activities, was expected to improve fish demand and increase economic activity directly. It would also help improve the availability of fish for households in the hinterland and cities.
After the opening of the event by government officials, fishing companies made presentations on their capacity, quality, and fish supply expectations. The companies also summarised their operations on posters and banners hanging around the event hall.
The larger companies reached out to the producers and showed their interest in buying their fish. They also explained the type of fish, and quality that they need, as the raw materials for their production processes.
The Fisheries Minister said, "I am delighted to mark the end of the Artisanal Fisheries Project with this event and appreciate the support of SDF to the Ministry in developing the fisheries sector. I strongly believe in the enormous potential of the fisheries sector and its contribution to the economy of Somaliland. I invite all fishing stakeholders to strengthen their collaboration in the value chain increasing fish production and growing the market while benefiting all."
Meanwhile, the Mayor of Erigavo encouraged stakeholders to keep prices affordable, so communities could benefit and choose fish as an alternative to meat.
Following the presentations, there was time for business-2-business meetings between fish producers, cooperatives, processors, and traders. They continued their networking during a visit to the new Erigavo fish market, where they all had an opportunity to sample locally caught fish prepared by local fish sellers.