Para-boiling of small fish in Malawi

Photo credit: Charles Bernard Makuya (Malawi)

Review: Charles Bernard Makuya and Abdel Rahman El Gamal (Founder of the website)



Landed fish in Malawi are marketed in variety of forms including fresh, iced, frozen, smoked, sun-dried or para-boiled before drying. While fresh fish is more popular in villages and towns near the lakes and rivers, most remote rural areas are supplied with processed fish.

The attached picture has been photographed on Chilambula beach (Salima district) and shows the para-boiling (paraboiling) method of fish processing. In this method, the fish is partially sun-dried first after that fish is dipped in boiled in water for a few minutes (approximately 2-3 minutes) using a small basket. Afterwards, fish is put on the rack to be sun-dried.

The para-boiling is a preferred processing method for small fish especially Usipa, “Engraulicypris sardella” whereas women are more involved in this type of processing. It is estimated that about 20% of usipa catch is sold to processors for para-boiling whether sold directly to consumers or traded through middlemen to wholesalers and retailers. Usipa is a “small sardine-like fish that are usually processed through either sun-drying or through para-boiling.




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