Fish consumers in Dar es Salaam have to dig deeper into their pockets to buy a high protein fish species, Nile Perch or Sangara whose environment is the freshwater Lake Victoria, a survey has indicated.
A week long survey carried out in various parts of the city markets shows that a kilogram of Sangara rose from Sh. 3,500 to Sh. 4,500 for the last two months, a 25 percent rise.
Owing to the rise, availability of the fish is becoming more common for instance at evening hours being displayed in heaps according to size with varying prices to make it easier for buyers to pick what is more affordable.
A spot check at markets such as Buguruni, Gongo la Mboto, Temeke, Tandika, Ilala and Mwananyamala indicated that a retail price of the single piece of the fried Sangara fish is sold at between Sh. 1,000 and Sh. 2,000 respectively.
Some interviewed petty traders say that they prefer to sell their fried fish products in pieces in order to make them easily affordable to would be buyers who are mostly low income earners.
Alexander Susuma, a fish trader at Gongo la Mboto market attributes price increase to insufficient supply of fish from Mwanza as well as Musoma and Bukoba.
Juliana Chogola a fish trader at Ubungo says higher prices are due to transport costs which she noted tended to rise each time the price of petrol climbs up. Despite the increase in price, deliveries of frozen Nile perch from Lake Zone at Kariakoo main market in Dar es Salaam shows constant supply ranging from 50 to 60 boxes daily for the past two months.
Each box weighing 40 kg of the frozen Nile perch costs Sh192,000 at whole prices to hawkers who in turn distribute their products to agents in various markets in the city.
Pressed for comment, Kariakoo market statician Nicholas Omolo said on Thursday that frozen Nile perch are easier to sell than the cured Nile perch. Most buyers prefer frozen fish as the later fry and sell in pieces, he said, noting that Tilapia fish is more expensive than Nile Perch and unaffordable to most people.
Fisheries and Livestock minister Dr. David Mathayo held a meeting with fish stakeholders in Mwanza on a go slow by traders in the region demanding higher prices for the produce from fish fillet producers on the lakeside city.
Traders were insisting that the Sh. 3,000 price per kilo that factory operators were offering was too low, and have since turned to seeking better prices across the lake. While this shift is considered to be informal in character, sellers have slightly higher prices while locally prices have been rising as the fish catch generally has been declining.
Before his meeting with fish stakeholders in Mwanza, the minister had stated in the National Assembly that over 95 percent of the fish from Lake Victoria were being processed and sold outside the country.