Traders in fish in the economic City of Douala, Cameroon, worry over an increasing drop in the sale of the produce. During a Trade Fair organized by the President of the Syndicate of Fish Traders in the Wouri Division, she blamed the situation on the reluctance of Cameroonians to consume their own products.
By Irene Zih Fon
« I think most Cameroonians are ungrateful. They only wish to consume products from Europe, whereas they could get the same offer in the Country at a much cheaper rate, » said the Syndicate Official ,Madam Moudio, also a business woman. She continued, « Can you imagine what these traders go through to get fish here for sale to the public ? »
She was in fact, expressing the frustration of the traders who complained that they had been all day under the sun, and yet people do not come to buy fish. The traders said most consumers expect them to reduce their prices, in which case they would be selling at a loss. However, the President of the Syndicate of Fish Traders assured that the cost of the different variety of fish had been cut during the Fair.
A kilogram of Brazilian Bar sold at 4.500F CFA at the Fair ground, meanwhile it sells at 5.000F CFA in Upwé-a locality reputed for having an abundance of fish at fair prizes. The case was similar for other variety which was offered at 12.000frs, meanwhile it can be found at the market for 14.000frs. The average cost of a basket of different types of fish exhibited stood at 10.000 FCFA.
Regarding the difficulties of fish traders on the market, Serge Mahot, who was member of the Organising Commitee of the Trade Fair, said there used to be much fish in Upwé but that trend is fast declining. « When there is scarcity of produce, you know, the cost consequently rises, » affirmed Mr Mahot. Attempting an explanation on why fish has become rare, he said experts have made them understand it is due to climatic conditions such as global warming, and that it is general even beyond Cameroon.
Secondly, he complained of the lack of modern and technical equipment to ease the traders’ work. This contributes to making the transportation of produce difficult, especially with the rising charges. Thirdly, he said there are no government subventions except for ‘goodwill gestures’ offered by people from time to time. In a concluding remark, the fish dealer regretted that the trade is undermined by society as most people tend to see fish dealers as people who somehow «missed their way .» But he added, « without this job, there would be no food for the table ! »
The Trade Fair from November 20-22, 2008 at « Maison du Parti » in Bonanjo, was seen as a means of valorizing the occupation of Fish traders/dealers, and calling on authorities to help make their economic activities more satisfying and enriching for the entire nation. It was organised in partnership with the Cameroon Ministry of Fisheries and Animal Husbandry as well as with actors in the sector. © The Entrepreneur Newspaper 2008. All Rights Reserved