The role of women in African aquaculture

  • Countries: Egypt, Ghana and Nigeria
  • Date:27th June, 2020
  • Time: 3pm (GMT +1)
  • Location: Zoom ID. 4110886313
  • Organized by West African Region of WAS AC.


Throughout West Africa women are the main producers of food. Their time is usually fully taken up by a multitude of domestic and production tasks. It is therefore clearly thoughtless to envisage yet further development, in this case the farming of fish, to add to their overall burden. Furthermore, they are unlikely to take up any activity which is not already related in some way to their existing responsibilities. Attempts to develop fish farming will have an impact on all members of the household, including their fishing activities, and this impact could be negative. The participation of women in aquaculture production in Africa therefore has to have good reason.

This paper describes the position and roles of women in fish farming production in West Africa, from Chad to Zaire, and to Senegal. The literature on aquaculture is characterized by an almost total absence of references to people, not least women. The source material therefore includes many personal communications and personal experiences, and answers to a questionnaire survey (Annex III). A total of 38 people from 18 West African countries sent back the questionnaires. Some added information on East African countries. The results are patchy and have no statistical value, but they serve as a useful starting point to describe the current status of women in production in African countries, particularly in West Africa.

The questionnaire was aimed at identifying places where women are already producers of fish or other aquatic animals, such as clams and oysters, with information describing this activity in terms of environment, motivation, and techniques. It also aimed at locating places where women are already active in improving their fishing activities with such things as stocking fish in ponds and feeding.

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