How Tanzanians can reap tuna benefits

Thursday July 22 2021
Tuna pic

Tuna caught sometimes weight around 100 kilogrammes and sell around Sh290,000 in Tanzania. A research has established that most Tanzanians do not consume tuna because of high prices. PHOTO | AGENCIES

By Gadiosa Lamtey

Dar es Salaam. A research on tuna consumption has shown that, despite tuna’s nutritional value, most Tanzanians don’t consume it due to its high price.

This has prompted calls for the private sector to invest in tuna processing factories to help lower the price.

The research - which was conducted by Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (Tafiri) and funded by Deep Sea Fishing Authority (DSFA) - started in June last year to July this year in Dar es Salaam, Mtwara, Unguja and Tanga.

Speaking yesterday during the validation workshop, Tafiri’s director general Ismael Kimirei said that tuna fish had many essential nutrients whereby the research was to gain a better understanding of consumption patterns, consumer perceptions, attitudes and beliefs.

“Tuna is a big fish, you can find one weighing up to 100 kilogrammes selling for around Sh290,000. It is not possible for a low-income person to afford it, as a result many are caught here and exported,” he said.

Dr Kimerei explained that through the study funded by DFSA they have seen the need for more industries that will process the fish and pack them in small quantities to make the fish affordable to all budgets so that all people would benefit from the nutrients.


“We have seen the usefulness of the fish. Increased processing and packaging locally can make it accessible to more people here,” he said.

For his part, Dr George Lushungisha said the government and the private sector needed to work together to increase the production of the fish found in the deep seas by enabling larger fishing vessels. At the same time, he suggested that more research be done on fish and fish products as it is a resource that will bring significant economic consequences if properly managed.

The acting DSFA director, Dr Emmanuel Sweke, said that, for the blue economy to be successful, thorough research must be conducted to enable productive investment in fishery products.

“We have tried our best to ensure that this resource benefits us all but we have not yet invested properly and adequately and this is where the private sector is needed,” he said, adding that Tanzanians must invest in the business so that fellow countrymen and women would play a role in the value chain: harvesting and processing locally.