Trade of fish imported from Sub-Saharan Africa in the Cape Town Business district
Epo, Emilienne Ewee Ndofor
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Fish remains a vital source of food, income, nutrition and livelihoods for millions of people in Africa. This study investigated the modalities of trading in fish imported from sub-Saharan Africa into South Africa in the Cape Town Metropolitan area. The research analyses the opportunities and constraints faced by retail fish traders and importers regarding the South African and Southern African Development Community (SADC) policies that are in place, to ascertain how far the policies go in facilitating the intra-regional fish trade. In addition, the study analyses consumer factors underlying the attractiveness of imported fish, the channels used for importation as well as the types and forms of fish imported into South Africa. The study employs a qualitative approach using semi-structured interviews with purposively selected key informant retailers, traders and City of Cape Town officials to collect the information. Findings show that shop owners and traders face challenges in relation to obtaining the required documents for trading, sanitary and phytosanitary certification and tariff and non-tariff barriers at borders. Some of these challenges include long and tedious procedures to acquire documents, as well as the limitations placed on the amount of goods traders can import. Consumers (mostly from the diaspora) prefer the taste of fish that they are used to, thereby creating an increasing demand for imported fish. National and regional policies put in place do not facilitate the trade in fish as well as current municipal regulations for retailing imported fish and other food types. The study also raises critical questions about the implementation of sanitary and phytosanitary standards by officials in the food shops. The thesis concludes that is it critical for national and regional policies to be coordinated and harmonised for enhanced intra-regional fish trade, which could contribute towards increased food security, nutrition and livelihoods.