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CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Research Grants for Postgraduate Studies – Africa Fish Trade Programme

by PLAAS in 2015
Grant objective

The main objective of the proposed research is to “contribute towards undertaking investigations into Informal Fish Trade and Value Chain Analysis in the Southern African Corridor as part of a collaborative effort with other Southern African universities participating in the programme.

Ttwo separate projects are proposed under the auspices of PLAAS: 

  1. Conduct a preliminary investigation on informal fish trade within and with other countries, with South Africa as the focal point.

  2. Investigate the type, extent and modalities of intra-regional (southern Africa) formal fish trade in the SADC region, including a specific focus on fish trade within the Southern African Customs Union (SACU – comprising of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland).

Type of Research Grant

Two research grants will be awarded. The grants will be for undertaking postgraduate studies at Masters Degree level, by full thesis. The grant will cover:

  • tuition fees

  • registration fees

  • a living allowance (including accommodation based on university hostel rates)

  • field research costs. 

The research topic will have to be within the ambit or related to Southern African Intra-regional fish trade. The students will be required to register for the Masters Degree in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies’ for the 2016 academic year, tenable at the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), University of the Western Cape (UWC).


The World Fish Center (WFC), with funding from the European Commission (EC), has joined efforts with the Africa Union – InterAfrica Bureau for Animal Research (AU-IBAR) and the New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA), to undertake the Improving Food Security and Reducing Poverty through Intra-regional Fish Trade in Sub-Saharan Africa programme (hereafter referred to as ‘Programme’). The Programme aims to improve food and nutritional security and reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa by enhancing the capacities of regional and pan-African organizations to support their member states to better integrate intra-regional fish trade into their development and food security policy agendas. The Programme is in response to the potential of Africa’s intra-regional fish trade for addressing the region’s food and nutrition insecurity, as well as poverty reduction through wealth creation which has until now been overlooked and neglected in national and regional policy.

The Programme will be undertaken in the four African economic corridors (Central, Eastern, Southern and Western) with the aim of delivering on the following results:

  • Generate information on the structure, products and value of intra-regional fish trade in each of the four corridors and make this available to stakeholders.
  • Come up with a set of recommendations on policies, certification procedures, standards and regulations, and how to embed these into national and regional fisheries, agricultural, trade and food security policy frameworks.
  • Enhance the capacities for trade amongst private sector associations, in particular for women fish processors and traders and aquaculture producers, so that they can make better use of expanding trade opportunities through competitive small and medium scale enterprises.
  • Facilitate the adoption and implementation of appropriate policies, certification procedures, standards and regulations by key stakeholders participating in intra-regional trade in the four trade corridors.

Within each of the four economic corridors, the Programme will focus on three main areas, namely:

  1. Strengthening the evidence base for coherent policy development at national and regional levels.
  2. Supporting the formulation and implementation of appropriate policies, standards and regulatory frameworks for promoting intra-regional fish trade.
  3. Strengthening the capacity of private sector associations, in particular of women fish traders, in order to enhance the competitiveness of small- and medium-scale enterprises engaged in fish trade.

Applicants should have completed their Honours or equivalent degree in one of the following fields: Economics, Marketing, Fisheries Economics, Fish Marketing, Agricultural Economics, International Trade. Candidates with qualifications in other related fields will also be considered. Applicants who are citizens of AU member states will be given preference. 

How to Apply

Please send your CV, the names of three academic referees, academic transcripts and a letter of motivation to Ms Carla Henry. Provide a Concept Note illustrating your understanding of the research questions, and possible methodologies for undertaking the research. In addition, please send a sample of your academic writing (e.g. a chapter from a Masters thesis). All applications must be submitted via email to:

Ms Carla Henry
Postgraduate Senior Administrator,
Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS)
University of the Western Cape
Private Bag X17, Bellville, 7535, Cape Town, South Africa

Deadline for applications: 30 October 2015
Short-listed candidates will be invited to interviews. Further information about the grant and registration procedures will be provided to successful candidates.