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Communities in the Menabe and Melaky regions are showcasing local fish products at the 5th edition of the « Foire Internationale de l'Agriculture, de l'Élevage et de la Pêche » (FIA).
Some 150 kg of fresh products, including shrimps, crabs and a wide variety of fish (tuna, mullet, capitaine, etc.), and no less than 500 kg of processed products, notably smoked and salted fish, will be on sale for seafood fans. A total of almost 650 kg of products collected thanks to sustainable fishing practices that respect marine ecosystems. These ecosystems support the livelihoods of over 100,000 fishermen in Madagascar whose degradation is likely to result in substantial economic loss.
Despite adverse weather conditions in the week leading up to the event, small-scale fishermen, cooperatives and fishermen's associations have maintained their participation in this platform for meetings and exchanges between players in the three sectors. They will be able to take advantage of the 4 days (September 21 to 24) to promote and market their region's sustainable fishing products, as well as to access new markets and explore avenues of collaboration with potential economic operators, as in the case of Florentin and Joseph, who are among the fair's participants.
Florentin Ralaivao is President of the community-based organization in Andapotaly, municipality of Belo sur Tsiribihina, in the Menabe region. A former fisherman who became a fishmonger, he also started raising poultry and cattle, thanks to the knowledge he acquired during a training course on the green economy. As for his wife, he has set up a small business of basic necessities and food service (gargotte). "My wife and I each have a fishmonger's card: she for salted and smoked fish, and I for crabs. We reinvest our respective earnings in buying products from the fishermen and then selling them on to the collectors. Thanks to all this, I've been able to enroll my 4 children in private schools" he shares. His participation in the previous edition opened the door to a collaboration with a major economic operator in the capital, which he supplies with crabs. This year, he intends to maintain his efforts and sell the 155 kg of products he brought back from Belo sur Tsiribihina: "I'm particularly proud of our local products, and I'm convinced of the benefits that small operators can derive from this kind of initiative to ensure the long-term survival of their industry. I'm here on behalf of the Andapotaly community to seek out new business opportunities, and I hope to be able to find some to help the local fishermen”.
Joseph René is a fisherman and president of the MITEZA cooperative in the municipality of Delta commune, district of Belo sur Tsiribihina, in the Menabe region. It is the second time he participates at the FIA, where he will be exhibiting and selling his dried fish of all sizes. "Fishmongers have a preference for dried fish. Our participation in a training course on fish processing techniques enabled us to perfect our drying techniques, and thus offer better quality to collectors". For his part, Joseph would like to meet, exchange ideas and develop potential partnerships directly with collectors during this event. Although more oriented towards processed products, he also expressed his wish to invest more in the marketing of fresh products: "The absence of freezers and the difficulty of finding ice mean that we can only store a limited quantity of fresh fish. If we had the right equipment, we could increase our profits and ensure better quality for our buyers".
This fair is one of many initiatives to which WWF is committed, supporting local communities in improving their livelihoods through the promotion of sustainable management of marine resources. The aim is to support communities in promoting sustainable value chains, thus contributing to the development of a sustainable blue economy.