Cameroon sits on the Atlantic coast where West and Central Africa meet. It was named “Rio dos Camares” or “River of Shrimp” by Portuguese explorers because they found an abundance of crustaceans in the area.
“As a young child, I was always fascinated by women preparing seafood. When I was seven and I was still in school, I bought shrimp for my aunt, I smoked it and then we sold it. A few years ago in Cameroon. This is how my business started in the capital Yaounde.
I cut wood at home and smoked and distributed in the village. It was a small operation and I didn’t even have an oven. My husband was very helpful, and I started getting more clients and our shrimp being sold abroad.
We shrimp smokers have that little way, we sell to cover our costs and make little profit. It’s not enough but we can.
Today, shrimp are Cameroon’s main seafood export product. I have heard that about 1,500 people work in the shrimp sector and I believe that shrimp is a healthy food that many people eat.
The problem we face is that it is difficult for us to get fresh seafood and store it.
The Kovid-1 pandemic epidemic has further disappointed the local market. If we had some capital, we would get a cold chamber to keep our fish and smoke it when we had an order.
I and others in the business are supported by FISH4ACP, a global initiative for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
It is helping us unlock the potential of Cameroon’s shrimp sector and helping us make this value chain more competitive and sustainable.
Ultimately, it will contribute to improving our livelihoods as well as economic growth, increasing food security and reducing the environmental footprint of the sector.