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Meet Cameroon's leading shrimp entrepreneur

Anastasie Obama founded her own smoked shrimp business in Cameroon and after gaining recognition from the FAO, hopes to unlock the potential of Cameroon's shrimp sector.

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
15 October 2021, at 3:38pm

Anastasie Obama has been named a FAO Food Hero for her efforts to sell Cameroonian shellfish locally and abroad. She is being recognised as part of the International Day of Rural Women marked annually on 15 October.

© Bayer

Cameroon sits on the Atlantic coast where Western and Central Africa meet. It was named “Rio dos Camarões” or, “River of Prawns”, by Portuguese explorers, because of the abundance of the crustaceans they discovered in the area.

When speaking to the UN, Anastasie Obama said, "as a little child, I was always fascinated to see women preparing seafood. When I was seven years old and I was still going to school, I would buy shrimp for my aunt, I would smoke it and then we would sell it. That’s how my business in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon began, some years ago.

"I used to cut wood at home and do the smoking and distribute in the village. It was a small operation and I didn’t even have an oven. My husband was very supportive, and I started getting more clients and our shrimp was being sold abroad."

"Today, shrimp is Cameroon’s main seafood export product. I have heard that the shrimp sector employs around 1,500 people and I believe shrimp is healthy food which is eaten by many."

© FAO

Obama and other shrimp smokers have been supported by FISH4ACP, a global initiative for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

"It is helping us to unlock the potential of the shrimp sector in Cameroon and support us in making this value chain more competitive and sustainable."

"Ultimately, this will improve our livelihoods as well as contributing to economic growth, increased food security and a reduction in the sector’s ecological footprint."