Influence of social-economic conditions of small scale fish traders on post harvest tilapia microbial safety in fish markets in Kampala Uganda
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The small-scale fisheries and fish trade sector is important in global and national economies by providing millions with income and consumers with food. In 2013, the United Nations Food Agricultural Organisation said that Uganda as a country was losing Shs 5b per year due poor post-harvest handling of fish as a result poor hygiene and quality handling of fish and this greatly impacts on its economy. The objective of this study were to determine the socio-economic conditions of small scale fish traders, to investigate hygienic practices in handling, storage and processing of fish and to determine the microbiological safety of both fresh and processed (smocked) fish sold in city markets. The study was carried out in Kampala city in Kibuye and Busega markets. 40 small-scale Nile tilapia fish traders were selected using random sampling method. A total of 8 (4 fresh and 4 processed fish samples) were randomly picked from these traders in these 2 markets for Total Coliform Count test in the laboratory which was done using the Most Probable Number method. A structured questionnaire was used to explore information on demographic, socio-economic, safety and quality practices. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse social-economic characteristics and hygiene practices of the traders. Results revealed that male traders were and female traders were in number, majority (45%) of the traders were aged between 31-50 years. The highest level of education attained by majority (42.5%) of the traders was primary level. The traders’ most frequent income earned per day was between Ush 20001-30000. A chi-square test was used to show whether there was significant association between social economic characteristics of respondents and fish safety. However from results in appendix III, only average daily income and attendance of training by fish traders hand a significant relationship with fish safety since they hand p-value of 0.03 and 0.008 respectively. All fish samples were contaminated since their TCC value was observed to be above 100 cfu/g which the maximum allowed limit. Independent sample t- test revealed that the sample mean both fresh and processed fish samples had a significant difference in their mean TCC values with (t3.099=5.566, p< 0.001, df=6) thus the fresh fish samples had a higher sample mean of 5.32 x 104 cfu/g as compared to that of the processed fish which was 1.38 x 103 cfu/g thus implying fresh fish samples were more contaminated than processed fish. Traders should be trained on hygiene requirements and economic skills in order to improve business performance.