Application of neo-classical economic models in the analysis of potential viability and public valuation of fish solar dryer in Malawi

The Government of Malawi through research institutions is promoting adoption of climate smart technology in the fishing industry. The philosophy behind the technology is to reduce fish-post-harvest losses currently estimated at 40%, improve fish quality, increase fish supply and enhance community’s climate change adaptive capacity. The introduction of fish solar tent dryers in Lake Malombe, Lake Chilwa and Lake Malawi is thus an attempt to achieve this goal. However, experience has shown that the adoption of this technology among the small and medium scale fish processors is too slow. The reasons could be explained better by applying economic theories. Therefore, this study adopted neoclassical economic models and welfare economic theories to analyse the potential viability and public psychology towards the adoption of solar dryer technology in Nkhotakota, Malawi. A combination of data collection techniques such as surveys, participatory approaches, focus group discussion and field observations were employed. The period of study was one month and the sample size was 10% of 300 fishing households. The study findings indicated high net return and high gross profit ratio in solar dried fish compared to the open sun dried. The study further revealed positive net present value (NPV), shortest payback period of 1 year and depreciation rate of 5 years in solar dryer suggesting that investment in fish solar dryer technology has potential to attract investors. The study further demonstrates that implementation of solar dryer technology in Malawi is feasible. Contingency valuation study also indicated that some communities were willing to pay the mean annual aggregate value of about US$1587.59 indicating signs of sustainability of solar driers. In conclusion, the study findings provide hypothetical and applied lessons in the policy implementation focusing on improving fish value chain in Malawi. The study further provides an insight in climate change adaptive capacity in the fisheries sector.
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Region Focus: 
Southern Africa
RUFORUM Working document series
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Open Access
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Web resource