Poverty in the fisheries : a framework for analysis and intervention for Lake Victoria, Uganda
The thesis is inspired by the poverty that has persisted among the fishing communities of Lake Victoria at a time of considerable cash inflow into the fisheries from the development of the fish processing industry. There has been need for an understanding of the poverty and what strategies would be most appropriate for its reduction. This thesis has attempted to respond to the need by identifying the nature and distribution of the poverty within the fisheries of Lake Victoria, Uganda, the factors responsible for it and the options for poverty reduction intervention. The thesis examined the global and regional perspectives of poverty and wealth distribution, noting that wide disparities existed between the developed and the developing world and also between the developing countries themselves. A historical review of development policies and strategies revealed that while successive strategies were able to contribute to growth, their achievement towards poverty alleviation were less than satisfactory, hence the need for continually developing new strategies. A background to Uganda's society and economy is provided, examining the demographic, political, environmental and economic conditions of the country. Uganda's development strategies are reviewed, highlighting the role of the Poverty Eradication Action Plan, Uganda's main strategy for implementing the policy of poverty reduction and wealth distribution. At the agricultural sector level, the Plan for the Modernisation of Agriculture has been formulated, followed by the National Fisheries Policy, aimed at providing a policy framework for the management and development of the fisheries. An appropriate definition of poverty was formulated, considered relevant to the situation of Lake Victoria. The dimensions of poverty included inadequate basic necessities, low education and health achievements, a sense of insecurity and exposure to risk. The research methodology was enhanced by the examination of the Lele Model of the Poverty-Environmental Degradation problem, the World Bank Model of Poverty Causation and the subsequent Lake Victoria Model developed in this thesis. It has provided a plan for the research, the consideration of criteria and a data collection plan. The data collection instruments included secondary data search, key informant interviews and a sample survey based on a structured questionnaire. The thesis identified all the four dimensions of poverty in the fisheries, provided poverty profiles with respect to the different activities, groups of people and regions in the fisheries, based on consumption poverty. Among the people identified to be in poverty were the labourers, fishers of 0. niloticus and those operating with non-powered boats. In the post-harvest fisheries, large proportions of processors involved in salting and sun-drying, market stall and bicycle traders were in the poverty category. The ethnic groups most affected included the Samia, Basoga and Bakenye while the Districts of Jinja, Bugiri and Busia had the highest proportions of fishers in the poverty category. With respect to the other dimensions of poverty, the study showed that educational achievement was low within the fishing communities. The health status was poor, due mainly to the prevalence of malaria, diarrhoea, bilharzia and HIV/AIDS. There was a sense of insecurity within certain sections of the fishing community, due to leadership weaknesses within the local as well as the Government institutions. Some community members operated in a state of risk because they were vulnerable to episodes of income, health and education. The causes of poverty in fisheries included weaknesses within the institutional and social environment, limitations in the technology available to the poor, resource degradation and unfavourable economic factors. The recommendations of the thesis for poverty reduction included strengthening of policies, developing links, improving capacities and increasing resources, to be applied at the levels of Central Government, Local government and of the community. In view of the achievements of the methodology used on this thesis, involving reference to the models, it is recommended that future research should build upon this model approach, as it will continue to produce results, especially when attempting to forecast changes relating to interventions.