Sellers say fearful buyers are choosing local over foreign produce
Sales of fresh fish in Kenya have risen as imports from China have dropped amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Sellers in Dunga Beach on the shores of Lake Victoria report a jump in trade of about 40% over two weeks.
“The fishermen are really now smiling at the Lake Victoria region because we are receiving more visitors. Dunga is really crowded with a lot of the residents of Kisumu coming to buy the fresh fish because people fear the Chinese boxed fish due to the coronavirus,” says Maurice Misodhi, a fisherman and leader at the Dunga Beach Management Unit.
Local fish costs about twice as frozen fish from China, of which Kenya imported more than $23m (£19m) worth in 2018.
Chinese fish used to make up about 50% of the market but this has fallen since imports stopped in November and the virus outbreak later took hold.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, local fishermen complained that cheap imports harmed local trade so much that they often resorted to eating their catch themselves or giving much of it away.
But the scarcity of Chinese fish isn’t good news for everyone. Caroline Ochieng, a fish seller says she is struggling to make a decent profit because Chinese fish is cheaper than local lake fish.
“That is the reason we want the China fish to be in supply as well as that from our own lake – so that as we do business we don’t feel the burden.”
There are worries that local fishermen won’t be able to keep up with new demand for fresh fish. But for now at least, they are making the most of the surge in trade.