Women fish retailers in rural Egypt operate under difficult conditions that make the job one of last resort. A WorldFish and CARE project is testing approaches that can improve their employment conditions with the aim of maintaining, and potentially expanding, current employment levels and increasing earnings.
Egyptian aquaculture has grown over the last 20 years and is now a strategically important industry providing around 65% of the fish eaten by Egyptians and employing at least 100,000 full-time equivalents, 50% of whom are youth. Aquaculture-derived fish is the cheapest farmed animal protein source in the country, making the sector particularly important for the country’s 21 million poor people.
Poor rural consumers tend to buy farmed tilapia from informal fish retailers, many of whom are women. Informal fish retail is the main, if not only, segment of the farmed fish value chain where women are found and the working conditions of these women is beset by challenges that directly impact on their livelihoods and the quality of their products.
The SDC-funded project ‘Improving Employment and Incomes through the Development of Egypt’s Aquaculture Sector’ works with these women fish vendors to improve their work conditions and earnings.
This brief by Samy Hussein, Eshak Mounir, Samir Sedky, Susan Nour and Paula Kantor explores the risks and constraints faced by the women fish retailers. It illustrates the employment conditions and risks affecting street vendors and describes approaches to improve the situation of vendors.