A Research Update by Dr Gerard Prinsen

Wasso butcher shop delivery

Wasso butcher shop. Image: Mary Ryan

A close social science collaboration has started in field research in Moshi, northern Tanzania, under the banner of LLH in April . We have started interviewing butchers selling raw meat to consumers for home cooking, as well as interviewing meat-sellers who offer cooked or roasted meat to consumers at markets.

Linda Waldman, from LLH’s Social, Economic and Environmental Drivers of Zoonoses in Tanzania (SEEDZ) project, and Jackie Benschop and I, both from the Hazards Associated with Zoonotic enteric pathogens in Emerging Livestock (HAZEL) project, have  worked closely together since February to prepare a set of interview questions and an observation checklist.

These two research instruments should not only provide insights into actual meat handling practices in the last link of the local meat value chain, but also increase our understanding of the perceptions, incentives, and beliefs of the people in control of meat handling just before consumers eat it.

After trialling and adapting these two research instruments, they are being applied by a new collaborator to the LLH team: Mr Boniface Mariki. Boniface Mariki is very familiar with the local market dynamics in northern Tanzania on the basis of his long-time experience working with the Moshi Chamber of Commerce.

Boniface will be interviewing a total of 30 butchers and 30 meat-sellers in both the urban and the rural environment from now until July. Linda and I will meet up with Boniface in Moshi early next month to discuss preliminary findings and prepare for further research in the second half of 2016.

Findings from the first few interviews offer some interesting leads. For example, some butchers and meat-sellers seem acutely aware of how gender relations – and the rapid changes in these relations over the past few years – may affect who buys meat, who eats meat, and where this meat is eaten. A few paraphrased lines from an interview with a meat-seller may illustrate this:

“A man comes here to consume a bowl of soup for say 1,000 shilling. When he gets back home, he pretends to have eaten nothing today. At home, wives and children have eaten nothing; they may have taken one sugarless cup of tea and a small cake as lunch or dinner. This is now changing; women no longer trust their husbands, and they also come to drink soup here as well. They are tired of monitoring the movements of their husbands.

Further reports on progress and findings will we hope become available in August.

Gerard Prinsen is a senior lecturer in the School of People, Environment and Planning at Massey University, New Zealand.

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