- Title: Coronavirus provides unexpected boost for Kenyan fishermen
- Date: 23rd March 2020
- Summary: KISUMU, KENYA (MARCH 20, 2020) (REUTERS) FISHING BOATS ON LAKE VICTORIA FISH BEING SOLD FROM BOAT FISH / CUSTOMER MARY DADE HOLDING FISH DADE'S FACE DADE CHOOSING FISH FISH BEING TRADED FROM BOAT (SOUNDBITE) (Swahili) LOCAL RESIDENT, MARY DIDI, SAYING (SPEAKING ABOUT HER FEAR TO BUY FISH SHIPPED FROM CHINA): "A kilo of fish from China goes for 150 (Kenyan) shillings while that of the fresh water lake fish from Lake Victoria goes for 300 shillings. So it is a problem. And now that we have corona in Kenya and as it escalates, we come here at Dunga to get fresh fish that when you eat you won't get sick." FISH ON SCALE SCALE FISHERMAN MAURICE MISODHI, PUTTING FISH IN BAG FISH BEING PUT IN BAG FISHING BOATS AT DONGA BEACH (SOUNDBITE) (English) FISHERMAN AND ASSISTANT CHAIRMAN AT BEACH MANAGEMENT UNIT AT DUNGA BEACH, MAURICE MISODHI, SAYING: "The fishermen are really now smiling at the Lake Victoria region because we are receiving more visitors. Right now when you see Dunga, Dunga is really crowded with a lot of the residents of Kisumu coming to buy the fresh fish because people fear the Chinese boxed fish due to the coronavirus." VARIOUS OF FRESH FISH MARKET BUILDING ORGANISING SECRETARY AT FRESH FISH MARKET, JACKLINE NYABORO, TALKING TO CUSTOMER NYABORO HANDLING FISH FISH BEING PEELED NYABORO LOOKING AS SHE CLEANS FISH NYABORO CLEANING FISH FRESH FISH MARKET (SOUNDBITE) (English) ORGANISING SECRETARY AT FRESH FISH MARKET, JACKLINE NYABORO, SAYING: "With the presence of the coronavirus, those people who are selling China fish are disadvantaged because at the moment they are unable to do their business. And I as a person selling the lake fish now I have the advantage to sell fish with the price I want." WOMAN CARRYING BOXES WITH FROZEN FISH FROM CHINA VARIOUS OF LETTERING ON BOX SAYING FISH ARRIVED FROM CHINA VARIOUS OF FISH ON DISPLAY (SOUNDBITE) (English) ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF FISHERIES, CHRISTINE ADHIAMBO, SAYING: "They are able to bring their fish because there is a gap they are filling. Which means that if in future we are not able to get fish from outside then there will be an empty gap left that is supposed to be filled. And then we will have some scarcity because we are not getting enough fish then that is likely to affect the prices." TRADER IN CHINESE FISH, CAROLINE OCHIENG FRYING FISH FISH BEING FRIED IN OIL VARIOUS OF OOHING ORGANIZING FISH ON HER STALL VARIOUS OF OCHIENG'S FACE (SOUNDBITE) (Luo) TRADER IN CHINESE FISH, CAROLINE OCHIENG', SAYING: "As women trading in Chinese fish in Kisumu, we see when the Chinese boxed fish arrives here we do get it cheaply and when it is not there we get this fish from our own lake but it's very expensive. That is the reason we want the Chine fish to in supply as well as that from our own lake so that as we do business we don't feel the burden." MAN CARRYING BOXES WITH FROZEN FISH FROM CHINA VARIOUS OF FROZEN FISH BEING TAKEN OUT OF BOXES VARIOUS OF BOXES WITH FROZEN FISH FROM CHINA
- Keywords: Chinese frozen fish Chinese imports to Africa Kenya Kisumu Lake Victoria fishing coronavirus fears economic effect of coronavirusLOCAL fish inductiry
- Reuters ID: LVA001C69V907
- Location: KISUMU, KENYA
- City: KISUMU, KENYA
- Country: Kenya
- Duration: 00:04:08
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Economic Events
- Story Text: The coronavirus sweeping the globe has handed Kenyan fishermen an unexpected boon: a rush of customers as consumers shun imported Chinese frozen fillets for freshly caught fish from the glittering shores of Lake Victoria.
Kenya imported $23.2 million worth of frozen fish from China in 2018, according to the International Trade Center, and fishermen have long complained that the cheap imports were strangling local trade.
Now the coronavirus has given local fishermen a boost, as Chinese imports slowed and nervous customers turned to local fish. But the government is warning that the market will soon face shortages unless imports from China resume.
Kenyan fishermen like 38-year-old Maurice Misodhi, whose skin has been weathered by the sun and wind during two decades on the water, have had a bumper month. Based at Dunga Beach in Kisumu, customers are clamouring for every fish he catches.
Misodhi says the Chinese lockdown seemed to have dried up imports of cheaper Chinese fish.
"The fishermen are really now smiling at the Lake Victoria region because we are receiving more visitors," he said.
The price of a kilo of Nile perch - 250 shillings ($2.50) a month ago - has shot up to 350 shillings.
Fish trader Mary Didi, her colourful headwrap dipping as she bent over a wooden boat full of fish, said she usually buys from Chinese suppliers but has now turned to Misodhi.
"Now that we have corona in Kenya and as it escalates, we come here at Dunga to get fresh fish that when you eat you won't get sick," she said.
Dunga Beach Management Unit confirmed sales had shot up in March. The beach registers a catch of between 1 tonne to 1.5 tonnes of fish each day, and sales have gone up from from 50 per cent to 90 per cent in the last two weeks, he said. Previously, fishermen would eat, barter or give away around half their catch.
Christine Adhiambo, the government's assistant director of fisheries for the lake region, said Chinese fish usually made made up about 50 percent of the market but this had now fallen, although she could not quantify the fall.
The two main Chinese fish importers for Western region usually sell 90 tonnes and 50 tonnes of fish per month each, she said. But they haven't imported since November, she said, and are running down their stocks. If they run out, there will be shortages, she said.
"We will have some scarcity because we are not getting enough fish then that is likely to affect the prices," she said.
(Production: Fred Ooko, Jackson Njehia, Maria Vasilyeva)
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