Prawns and piranhas: the political economy of a private sector marketing chain in Tanzania

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The article presents the findings of recent research on three principal areas of prawn fishing in Tanzania: trawler and ‘artisanal’ fishing off and in the Rufiji Delta respectively, and costal ‘artisanal’ fishing from Bagamoyo. Adapting a filière‐type approach, it analyses the organisation of production, collection, processing and marketing/distribution in the various prawn commodity chains, in terms of their social and technical conditions and dynamics, and the characteristics and linkages of different forms of enterprise and their agents. The findings of the study are then related to relevant theoretical debates about production forms and markets in African farming and fisheries, including contracting and sharecropping; the sources, mechanisms and effects of market power in food commodity chains; forms of enterprise development and accumulation in Africa; and issues of globalisation in food commodity chains.