Senegal's Artisanal Seafood Sector: A Food Safety Situational Analysis
Fisheries, and especially the artisanal fisheries sector, are crucial to Senegal’s economy. They provide livelihoods for hundreds of thousands of its citizens; and fish represent a crucial source of protein for most of the population. Additionally, fish products are widely traded with neighboring countries in West Africa. While there are many health benefits to seafood consumption, seafood can carry a large variety of health hazards, potentially affecting millions of consumers in Senegal and its neighboring countries.
During 2020, Feed the Future Business Driver for Food Safety (BD4FS), funded by USAID and implemented by Food Enterprise Solutions (FES), undertook a Food Safety Situational Analysis (FSSA) of the artisanal seafood sector in Senegal. The FSSA was a combination of a desk-based literature review, insight-gathering field missions and interviews with fishery supply chain actors.
The BD4FS FSSA revealed that the key factors impacting food safety in Senegal are: improper cleanliness practices (due in part to lack of access to water); inadequate cooling equipment; toxic contamination from processing methods; and lack of access to financing for growing food businesses to adopt better technologies and practices. Despite considerable investment efforts by international donors over the last couple of decades, the artisanal seafood sector in Senegal needs additional support to overcome barriers and improve food safety.
Among the areas in need of food safety improvements, BD4FS initiated the following three studies: an assessment of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) conditions at artisanal seafood processing sites; a study on the risks of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), alternative fish smoking techniques, and consumer awareness; and a financial landscape assessment to better understand business needs and potential resources for improving food safety practices.