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Eye on Africa: Park Muhonda, "Mapping fish value chains"
Thursday, 14 Nov 2019
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Room 201, International Center
Event Details:

About the Speaker:

Park Muhonda is a social scientist with an interest and experience in multidisciplinary research – employing both qualitative and quantitative methods and use social and natural science data. He employs multi-dimensional livelihoods approach to large datasets on livelihoods and shock exposure i.e. Living Standards Measurement Study and Integrated Household Survey to understand: 1) where people are exposed to specific shocks and 2) spatial patterns of factors that make people more or less likely to experience shocks in Malawi, Uganda, Ethiopia, Niger and Bangladesh. His PhD dissertation takes a political ecological approach to understand socioeconomic and political conditions that underlie differential livelihoods vulnerability to climate and economic change in rural Malawi. Park is currently working with Dr. Abigail Bennet as a research associate (Postdoc) at MSU, department of Fisheries and Wildlife on a project on fish trade and food security in Malawi. A project that aims to enhance knowledge on fish value chain focusing on issues of gender, food security and small-scale fish workers' livelihoods and understand scalar dimension of fish trade and governance of fisheries and their associated value chains. Park has taught World Regions as full graduate instructor in Geography at WVU, department of Geology and Geography. Previously, Park taught as part time lecture at Share World Open University - water resources management. He also taught geography at secondary school after obtaining his first degree from University of Malawi. Park did his MSc in Integrated Water Resources Management with WaterNet, a regional (SADC) network of university departments and research and training institutes specializing in water. He also worked as project manager at Church and Society Programme.

About the Talk:

Improving food security of the population is the key and long-term goal of the food security policy in Malawi. With about 20% of Malawi's surface area covered by water, fisheries produce an estimated 70,000MT of fish per year accounting for approximately 70% of national animal protein intake and providing essential vitamins and minerals (micronutrients). While the potential of fisheries in contributing to rural livelihoods and meeting national food and nutrition security is generally apparent, substantial knowledge gaps remain about both the magnitude and distribution of these benefits, leading to insufficient policy attention. This Mapping fish value chains project seeks to address the primary questions of who benefits from Lake Malawi fisheries and what factors shape the distribution of benefits. What is the livelihood and food security/nutritional contribution of different fish species at household level? What are the profit margins at each node of the value chain and how do these vary by gender? In order to develop research questions and hypotheses for the project we conducted preliminary analysis of the Third Malawi Household Integrated Survey dataset. Spatial analysis reveals that access to fish/ consumption is not uniform across the country. There is remarkable difference between rural and urban areas. Building on this analysis, this project will integrate spatial analysis techniques and access mapping with value chain analysis to generate finer-scale information about the pathways of distribution of benefits from Lake Malawi's fisheries and mechanisms underpinning the distribution.