Journal of
Agricultural Extension and Rural Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Agric. Ext. Rural Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2170
  • DOI: 10.5897/JAERD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 489

Full Length Research Paper

Gender roles in fisheries post-harvesting activities in catch-locations within Coastal Areas of Lagos State Nigeria

Olusola Benson
  • Olusola Benson
  • Department of Research Outreach, Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar
Isaac Ambee
  • Isaac Ambee
  • Department of Research Outreach, Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar
Oluwatoyin Akinnigbagbe
  • Oluwatoyin Akinnigbagbe
  • Department of Fisheries Resources, Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMAR), Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar
Bunmi Omotuyi
  • Bunmi Omotuyi
  • Department of Research Outreach, Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar
Adepeju Solagbade
  • Adepeju Solagbade
  • Department of Research Outreach, Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 18 July 2018
  •  Accepted: 19 October 2018
  •  Published: 31 December 2018


This study examined the gender roles in Fisheries Post-harvesting Activities (FPhA), which stems from a significant knowledge gap regarding gender roles in the subsistence fishery industry. The research was conducted in five catch-locations within the coastal areas of Lagos State, Nigeria, namely: Ikorodu, Badagry, Epe, Lekki and Makoko. The respondents were selected using purposive and snowballing sampling techniques. A validated structured questionnaire was used for data collection. Chi-square analysis (x2= 22.6, df 2) revealed that gender participation was significantly different (P<0.05). The study identified ‘knife’, ‘smoking kiln’ and ‘baskets’ as the major equipment used by fisher folks; while it also noted “personal interest”, and “a means of sustenance” as the main reason(s) for participation. Findings across the locations show that despite the fact that both genders are engaged in various FPhA; certain activities are gender specific. To aid the efficiency of fisher folks in FPhA, fish processing center with modern facilities should be built across the catch locations. Policy makers in the domain of FPhA should involve women in policy formulation and decision-making due to their huge clear dominance. Finally, to bridge the gender participation gap in FPhA for employment and income purposes, there is a need for training and capacity building targeted especially for male fishers.

Key words: Gender, male, female, Fisheries Post-harvesting Activities (FPhA), catch-locations.


Abbreviation: FPhA, Fisheries Post-harvesting Activities; NSPRI, Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute, Lagos; NIOMAR, Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research; FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization.  


The act of fishing has been one of the major economic activities of human beings which transverses many generations. According to FAO (2018), global total capture fisheries production was 90.9 million tonnes in 2016, with significant contributions to supplies of food, employment, income and well-being of artisanal fisher folks in coastal, riverside and lakeside communities who are directly dependent on fishing and related activities for their livelihoods (Allison et al., 2009).

While it is widely known that men are predominantly the harvester of wild fish species (Olubanjo et al., 2007) and women are engaged in fish  processing,  marketing and distribution, these facts are changing. Lambeth et al. (2002) noted that women are now involved where only men used to operate and vice versa.

The coastline in Nigeria, and especially of the coastal Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Lagos State, is well- endowed with river networks, and a large expanse of exclusive ocean waters for commercial fishing. Also, capture fisheries account for over 90 percent of the total annual fish production in Nigeria (Olaoye et al., 2012; NIOMAR, 2011) and culture fisheries contribution to fish was estimated at 6.06% (Ozigbo et al., 2014; NIOMAR, 2011).  Consequently, several of the natives and residents in coastal (or littoral) states and communities in Nigeria are involved in the capture fisheries sub-sector of the nation’s economy.

According to Sinkaiye (2005), gender is a term often associated with roles and responsibility of males and females in the society, as a social classification of sex. It is the socio-cultural differences between males and females as against the biological differences. Gender is a concept used in social science analysis to look at roles and activities of men and women (IITA, 1996). Knowledge of gender roles are an important part of fisheries management because it allows interventions to be tailored to specific groups of fishers.

Thus, there is a need for data that accurately defines the nature of coastal fisheries and associated postharvest activities that informed the present study. This study, therefore, aims to identify the post-harvesting activities that fishers engage in across small-scale fisheries within the coastal area of Lagos, Nigeria. The objective of the study amongst others is to: describe the socio-economic characteristics of the respondents; ascertain various FPhA carried out by both gender; identify equipment used in FPhA, and ascertain reason(s) for gender participation in FPhA sector in the study areas.


The hypothesis of the study is stated in null form (Ho). Ho = There is no significant difference in gender roles in FPhA in catch-locations within the coastal areas of Lagos State.



Description of the study area

The study was conducted between June and November, 2017 in five coastal zones of Ikorodu, Badagry, Epe, Lekki (Ibeju-Lekki) and Makoko (Lagos Mainland) in Lagos State, Nigeria (Figure 1). The state is situated in the Southwestern geo-political zone of Nigeria. It shares boundaries with Ogun State, both in the North and East and is bounded in the West by the Republic of Benin. Its Southern border stretches for about 180 km along the coast of the Atlantic  Ocean.  The   State   occupies   an   area   of   3,577 km² landmass with about 22% (786.94 km²), representing the Lagos lagoons. Lagos State is very rich in different forms of aquatic ecological zones that support different varieties of fish species and aquatic organisms; thereby providing productive fishing opportunities for fishers. Lagos is home to traders, artisans, industrialists, civil servants, and office workers.



Sampling techniques and sample size

The population of the study comprised both men and women that engage in fishing in the coastal area of Lagos State, Nigeria. In the absence of a comprehensive list of the respondents who are involved in post-harvesting fish activities in the study area, purposive sampling and snowballing techniques were used to select the respondents. Snowballing sampling techniques, the process of selecting respondents based on referral-chain on the subject matter, was used to generate respondents who formed the focus of the study. In the course of administering the questionnaire, the target was 15 respondents for each of the five catch-locations, which implies 75 respondents. However, only 60 respondents were sampled as indicated in Table 1, which translates to 80% total respond and this was used for the analysis carried out.



Validity and reliability test of the questionnaire

Validity is the degree to which an instrument and its measurement serve the purpose for which they were intended. Face and content validity was used to adjudge the questionnaire. Experts in the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development of Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta were contacted to carry out the assessment for face validity. The content validity of questionnaire was done by computing the level of agreement, (on appropriateness of the content of the questionnaire) between five judges who are experts in the area of post-harvest research survey in the Research Outreach Department of Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute, Lagos (NSPRI). The coefficient of concordance (w) was 0.76, an indication that the content is valid.

Reliability is the degree of consistency of measurement. For this study, test re-test method of reliability was employed. The questionnaires were pre-administered on eight respondents in a day trip to two catch-locations in Ogun Water Side Local Government in Ogun State. The results were correlated using Spearman-rho correlation. The coefficients of reliability (r) was r = 0.77, thus adjudging the questionnaire as being reliable.

Data analysis

Using SPSS 20.0, the data collected were subjected to descriptive and inferential statistical analysis. Inferential statistical tool, such as Chi-square, was used to determine gender role in post-harvesting activities at 0.05 level of significant.





Socio-economic characteristics of the Respondents

Result in Table 2 showed that the mean age of the respondents was 52.5 years, which indicate economically active fisher folks in tandem with (Olaoye et al., 2012). Most (75%) of the respondents were females, while 25% were males; this goes  to  show  the dominance of the female fishers in post-harvesting activities, which is in agreement with Kronen and Vunisea (2007) and Tawake et al. (2007), that women are involved in post- harvest activities, marketing and distribution of marine products. With 25% of the respondents as males, it goes further to show that post-harvesting activities is no longer women affair; this is in line with Lambeth et al. (2002) who submitted that with new technologies, activities in fisheries are no longer gender specific. The findings of this study further revealed that majority (80.0%) of the respondents were married with 4-6 members in their households, which could imply availability of cheap labor for the household head.  Most (75%) of the respondents had one form of formal education or the other, indicating the ease of adopting new innovations; this corroborates with the findings of Akingba et al. (2017) who reported high educational level for fisher folks in some fishing communities of Ondo State. On the contrary, Olaoye et al. (2012) showed 60.0% of respondents as uneducated. About 75.0% of the respondents in the catch-locations indicated post harvesting activities as their major occupation with mean annual income estimated at N107.200, which infers that respondents had moderate income. This lends credence to the findings of Olaoye et al. (2012) who reported N86.300 income level for fisher folks in some communities of Ogun State.



Various equipment used in fish post-harvesting activities

Figure 2 shows different types of equipment used by the respondents in post harvesting activities. Knife ranked 1st, smoking kiln 2nd and basket 3rd, these three equipment were the most used in post harvesting of fish in the study location. Wire mesh ranked 4th, bowl ranked 5th, and drum 6th. Across the catch-locations, the study revealed that the equipment used in post-harvesting activities were the same and not automated.



Gender reasons for participation in fish post-harvesting sector

Based  on  multiple  responses,   Figure   3   represents gender reason(s) for participation in fish post-harvesting sectors in the study area. The study revealed “personal interest”, “means of sustenance” and “market participation with  female  fishers’  dominance.  Thus,  it could be inferred that participation in post-harvesting sector of fisheries may be unconnected with the socio-economic characteristics of the fisher folks.



Post harvesting activities carried out by male and female

Based on multiple responses, Figure 4 reveals various post-harvesting activities carried out by both male and female in the study area, it shows that fish processing such as sorting, packaging and purchase are gender specific, which could be regarded as the activities for women only. This is in line with Olubanjo et al. (2007) who submitted that women are more involved in the low-ends of fishing activities. However, it was observed that male fishers now engage in fish smoking, marketing, drying and storage activities, as against earlier submission (Olubanjo et al., 2007) that they are only involved in the high-ends of fisheries activities.









In this study, particular references were made of the equipment used by fisher folks in FPhA, gender reason(s) for participation as well as various activities engaged by both fisher folks in FPhA. However, it was observed that certain activities  are  gender  specific  as depicted above (Figure 3). It was also noted that participation in FPhA has nothing to do with the socio-economic characteristics of the fisher folks. The study further reveals that fisher folks across the catch-locations employed the same equipment in fish processing, sorting, storage and preservation. To aid the efficiency of fisher folks in FPhA, fish processing center with modern facilities should be built across the study locations. Owing to the fact that women constitutes clear majority in this sector, they must be involved in policy formulation and decision-making.



The authors have not declared any conflict of interests.



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