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Factors Affecting Pricing of Skipjack Tuna and Sprats Dried Fish Value Chains in Sri Lanka

Wickrama, P.S.S.L. and Koralagama, D.N.


Price is identified as the signal of the product indicating its availability in the market. Frequent price fluctuations adversely affect manfacturing industry performances including dried fish. Besides, dried fish prices fluctuate following the seasonality of fresh fish. However, several factors affect dried fish pricing other than seasonality. Thus, this study attempts to unravel the factors that affect dried fish prices with special reference to large pelagic skipjack tuna and small pelagic sprats. Matara and Jaffna districts were selected as the origin of the two value chains due to the abundance of the selected varieties respectively. Quantitative data collection approaches were adopted including a questionnaire survey with 80 processors, 70 wholesalers and 80 retailers by using simple random and snowball sampling techniques. Secondary data were gathered from Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute and the Department of Census and Statistics. Descriptive and inferential methods as coefficient of correlation, Wilcoxon sign rank test and ANOVA were used for the analysis. Value additions, imported product prices and market types significantly affected the pricing of skipjack tuna (Mean>3.93) and sprats (Mean>3.68) dried fish (p=0.00) through the value chain. Packing (p=0.00) and grading (p<0.00) products on colour, texture and size significantly affect the price changes of both dried fish value chains. Packing skipjack tuna (30%<) and sprats (40%<) dried fish indicate the significant (p=0.00), the highest percentage of price increment while white/yellow colour skipjack tuna (5%<) and dark colour sprat (5%<) products indicate the significant (p<0.00) highest percentage of price decrease. A weak correlation (r=0.35**) is noticeable between imported and local sprats than skipjack tuna (r=0.95**). Different market types including fair, store, grocery and supermarket significantly affect pricing for both dried fish products (p>0.00) except the wholesale market for skipjack tuna (p=0.068). The paper identifies the level of value addition, market types, presence of imports, and product-based characteristics as important determinants of pricing of small and large pelagic dried fish. However, these price determinants exhibit irregular and controversial relationships thus further research, dried fish policy and sector reforms on dried fish prices are needed.


KEYWORDS: Average prices, Dried fish, Value chain