The livelihood strategies of women fish traders in adapting to cultural and institutional constraints in Ibaka, Nigeria

E. Udong, Anke Niehof, A. van Tilburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This paper presents findings from a study of women fish traders in Ibaka,
Nigeria, which investigated their livelihood strategies, assets and resources, and
how institutions and culture mediate their choices. Case studies were conducted
on eleven fish traders purposively selected in 2008. Fish trade is a gendered activity in Ibaka. Constraints caused by culture and institutions pose challenges to success. Women selling bonga (Ethmalosa species), croakers (Pseudotholitus species), catfish (Arius species), barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) and crayfish (Palaemon species) were interviewed and categorized into small, medium and large scale, using capital outlay. Though fish trade offered them opportunities of earning income, threats and shocks like seasonality and fire incidents, and constraints like polygamy, patriarchy, underdeveloped infrastructure and insufficient working capital challenged sustainable livelihoods. Livelihood strategies adopted included diversification into petty trading, farming, equipment and property leasing and fish trade. These were influenced by age, educational status, experience and capital outlay.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-93
JournalMAST
Volume9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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