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Iceboxes help women fish retailers find profits

 
Women selling fish on the roadside, Egypt. Photo by Samuel Stacey, 2012
 
A group of women fish retailers in the Egyptian region of Shakshouk near Fayoum are realizing better profits from the sale of their fish after acquiring iceboxes. Iceboxes help them keep their fish fresh in the market, allowing them to sell more stock each day.
 
The iceboxes were supplied by WorldFish and CARE Egypt as part of the larger “Improving Employment and Income through Development of Egypt’s Aquaculture Sector” (IEIDEAS) project that supports women retailers who sell fish in rural markets or at the road-side.
 
Without ice to keep their fish in good condition throughout the day, many women find they have to discard the last few kilograms of their stock at the end of the day due to exposure to heat and dust.
 
The aquaculture industry in Egypt provides full or part-time employment for over 100,000 people, from production to final sale, and supports the livelihoods of up to 1 million family members. The fish retail sector provides 32,000 jobs alone, with around 30% of these jobs occupied by women.
 
CARE Egypt has supported women fish retailers to form groups and work together to increase women’s solidarity and ability to function as productive and empowered members of society. These groups can then request support from the project such as iceboxes, motorised tricycle pick-up, deep freezes and official recognition in the main markets.
 
 The project also links the retailers with fish farmers. Combining this with the use of iceboxes helps them to earn more money and improve their livelihoods. 
 
The $6 million IEIDEAS project funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation aims to provide productive jobs in the aquaculture industry for Egypt’s youth and women, and stabilize the livelihoods of thousands of vulnerable households.
 
Increasing productivity is also a focus of the project, with WorldFish scientists using selective breeding to develop faster-growing breeds of tilapia, and CARE expanding employment in the retail sector.
 
WorldFish has invested in Egyptian aquaculture for more than 20 years, and is committed to developing the aquaculture industry, and generating employment for the millions of men and women that depend on the sector for income and food security.
 
By Holly Holmes