A historical critical analysis of causes of poverty among fishermen of Samfya district, Luapula Province, Zambia
Joshua Chilonge, Dr. William Phiri
The purpose of the study was to establish the life style and causes of poverty among fishermen in Samfya District of Luapula Province, Zambia. The target population included fishermen of Samfya District, employees of National Archives of Zambia (NAZ) and Department of Fisheries in Chilanga. Data were collected using structured and open-ended interviews, Focused Group Discussion and through observations. Qualitative data were analysed using content analysis and themes derived from the research objectives while quantitative data were analysed in excel environment. The findings of the study were that majority of the people especially in Samfya district were employed in fishing and fisheries related activities. The entire economy of Samfya district depended on fishing and the decline in fish stocks automatically affected all sectors of the economy in the district. The study further observed that the fishermen of Samfya caught and sold a lot of fish but most of them did not benefit from those abundant fish resources due to a combination of factors. The findings revealed that most local fishermen were poor because of their lifestyle. Second, some did not invest their money in productive ventures, but spent much of it on beer drinking while some of them spent it on women because they believed fish was always there in lakes and rivers and they would find it whatever time they went to fish. Although the rich and a few middle class fishermen managed to educate their children from their earnings, the poor fishermen did not and ended up forcing their children into early marriages where they wallowed in poverty. Thirdly, the fishermen did not form fishing cooperatives to handle issues such as fish marketing, fish prices, acquisition of fishing equipment and diversification into other business ventures. Each fisherman fixed his/her own price which depended on how urgent he/she needed the money and also on the bargaining experience of the trader. Further, the poverty of some fishermen in Samfya district was due to a static mind set. They lacked knowledge of what was obtaining in other parts of the country which could have assisted them to change their mind set and perception of the fishing industry. Based on the findings, the study strongly recommended that the government of Zambia should help the fishermen of Samfya with markets and loans to purchase suitable fishing methods and diversify their fishing business. Government should orient the fishermen on the fish ban as Lack of participatory approach on the enforcement of the fish ban raised economic hardships among the fishing folk that consequently resisted the policy.