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Monitoring the challenges of marine and inland small-scale fisherfolks in Ghana

Findings from an organization-level survey conducted as part of the United Nations Decade of Family Farming








Improta, M., Moncada, L., de la O Campos, A.P. & Covarrubias, K.A. 2023. Monitoring the challenges of marine and inland small-scale fisherfolks in Ghana – Findings from an organization-level survey conducted as part of the United Nations Decade of Family Farming. Rome, FAO.





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    Small-scale fishers and their communities highly depend on secure access to fisheries resources and to the beaches that allow fishers to access the fishing grounds, to land their catches, and store and maintain their boats, gear and equipment. Landing sites are also often a place that women use for fish processing and marketing activities. These tenure rights for fishing grounds and landing sites are of crucial importance for the livelihoods of small-scale fishers and for food and nutrition security for fishing communities, and for the coastal population in most countries. Most of the landing sites for small-scale fisheries in Ghana are under increasing demand to use the beaches for other purposes, such as tourism, urban and commercial activities. Small-scale fishers also have major challenges pertaining to their exclusive use of the Inshore Exclusive Zone (IEZ), reserved for the small-scale fishing for small pelagic fish. In recent years there are major conflicts with industrial fleet that are trans-shipping (by)-catches of small pelagic fish to canoes at sea, which are subsequently landed unrecorded in Ghana. In addition, the industrial trawlers are regularly fishing illegally within the IEZ for small pelagic fish. Through the European Union Land Governance Programme support has been provided to develop the capacities of small-scale coastal fishing communities to secure their tenure rights, secure the fish landing and processing sites and reduce the incidence of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Capacities of clam fishery producers was also developed. The aim was to secure and sustain the livelihoods of the small-scale fishers.
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    The contribution of women in small-scale fisheries to healthy food systems and sustainable livelihoods in Ghana 2023
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    The Gender Brief is tailored to provide insight into the contributions of women in small-scale fisheries to healthy food systems and sustainable livelihoods in Ghana. Approximately 90 000 women in Ghana depend on small-scale fisheries for their livelihoods, mostly in the post-harvest sector. Pervasive gender norms limit women’s opportunities and decision-making power at household and community levels, as they face many gender-based constraints in fisheries value chains and they are more vulnerable to intersecting factors such as poverty and gender-based violence. Targeted actions should be undertaken to address gender inequalities and support women’s empowerment in the Ghanaian fisheries sector, including the establishment of gender units at ministerial level, the provision of training and awareness raising to fisheries extension officers and the integration of women’s perspectives and knowledge in fisheries resource management and climate adaptation plans.
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    Through the FAO-NORAD project, survey data was used to “map” women’s organizations and assess their present capacities and needs in the small-scale fisheries sector. Data collection for this study (herein referred to as the Women’s SSF Mapping Assessment) in Ghana focused on six regions: Western, Central, Eastern, Greater Accra, Volta and Oti. Across these regions, a total of 46 surveys were collected between 23 September and 5 November 2020 (for a full overview of the study methods, see Appendix 1). The results of this study and related recommendations for capacity enhancement activities were later validated by stakeholders at the National Inception and Consultative Workshop held on 20–23 April 2021 in Winneba in the Central region. The workshop was attended by 59 participants, including fish processors drawn from ten project communities; officers from the Fisheries Commission and other partner agencies, including the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and the Food Research Institute (CSIR-FRI); and civil society organizations and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Each of the ten communities were represented by two processors who participated in project-related surveys (e.g. the study’s baseline assessment) and a leader from at least one women’s small-scale fisheries group. In addition, women’s small-scale fisheries group leaders at the district, regional and national levels were also invited. In all, 30 fish processors and leaders participated in the validation process.

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