Cameroon is located on the Atlantic coast where West and Central Africa meet. Portuguese explorers named it “Rio dos Camaroins” or “Shrimp River” because of the abundance of crustaceans found in the area.
“As a child, I always loved watching women cook seafood. When I was seven and still going to school, I bought shrimp for my aunt, I smoked them, and then we sold them. So a few years ago I started my business in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon.
I used to chop wood at home, smoke and distribute in the village. It was a small operation and I didn’t even have an oven. My husband was very supportive, I began to get more clients, and our shrimps were sold abroad.
With the little money that shrimp smokers have, we sell and make a small profit to cover our costs. It’s not enough, but we are doing it.
Today, shrimp is Cameroon’s main seafood export product. I have heard that there are about 1,500 people working in the shrimp sector and I believe that shrimp is a healthy food that many people eat.
One of the problems we face is that it is difficult for us to get fresh seafood and store it.
V COVID-19 the pandemic has further affected the local market. If we had capital, we would get a cold storage chamber for fish and smoke it only when we had an order.
I and other business representatives have received support from FISH4ACP, a global initiative for the sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
This helps us unlock the potential of the shrimp sector in Cameroon and supports us in increasing the competitiveness and sustainability of this value chain.
Ultimately, this will improve our livelihoods, as well as contribute to economic growth, food security and a reduction in the sector’s environmental impact.
FISH4ACP is led by the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) with financial support from the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).