How Gambians market fish
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Most of the fish landing centres in the Gambia along the coast are not easily accessible to consumers.
The collection and distribution usually involve a chain of traders or middlemen. Fish distribution, therefore mainly remains in the hands of the brokers, retailers and wholesalers. Fish brokers, literally mean those small-scale traders; they normally buy small quantities of small pelagic (bonga) fish from the artisanal fishermen at the landing fishing sites and transport them on bicycles or motorbikes to villages or towns far from fishing centres.
The scope of operation of this category is usually 2 to 10 miles radius from the landing centres with less than 200 kg of fish per trip covered in wet jute bags and carried in baskets. They supply fish to the immediate environment and nearby village markets. Retailers normally buy 2-3 tones of fish from artisanal fishermen at the landing centres.
The fish is then distributed to the inland or neighbouring markets within the urban areas in hired vans, whereas ice is used to cover the fish. Retailers normally sell their fish directly to the consumers in market places or at certain times to other retailers that operate on a smaller scale.
The wholesale traders buy 5-10 tones at a time, which consist of mainly the bonga fish from the artisanal fishermen at the landing centres. They will also transport the fish to central points in township in inland markets. They sell mainly to private traders who deal primarily in the selling of fresh fish. They also sell to processors for smoking or drying of fish. Processors can also buy the fish directly from the artisanal fishermen for smoking or drying.
The hot-smoked fish that are mainly marketed in the urban areas are transported by hired vans. These fish are usually packed in locally made weaved baskets. Those that are carried by individuals travelling to Europe and the USA are chilled/frozen and wrapped in plastic films packed in polystyrene boxes.
Author: By Amadou Jallow