Who, What & Where

The sardine fishing industry is an impact business project implemented to transition the low-income sardine fishing industry in Lake Victoria, away from kerosene lanterns and traditional conventional methods toward cleaner, more affordable renewable energy solutions. The project help to increase the value of sardines in the global market by innovating two major areas of lighting and drying in the value chain of the sardine fishing industry.

The Company

Millennium Engineers Enterprises Ltd is a Tanzanian renewable energy company specialising in solar and wind energy technologies. Our core business offerings include the development of customised impactful business projects, women and youth's empowerment, promoting the use of clean energy technology, advocating for food security and PURE while working alongside the customer to ensure the solution caters to their needs while still addressing cost, culture, efficiency and the environment.

The Challenge

Night fishing in Lake Victoria faces challenges around affordable and efficient energy for lighting and drying in the sardines fishing industry. Fishermen use pressurised kerosene lanterns or LED lead-acid batteries with wooden flotillas during night fishing; which all risk their health, highly cost-full, and additionally contribute to significant levels of greenhouse emissions and environmental degradation. It is estimated that $140 of monthly profits are spent by fishers on lighting solutions available in the market. 

Moreover, the night catch especially sardine is dried on sand or grass a practice which leads to the final product containing sand and thus being unhealthy for human consumption. It is estimated that this improper drying reduces the value of sardine by over 60%.

The industry has limited work opportunities for women further hampering household income. The majority of the communities are dependent upon the fishing industry and as such, other small businesses generate profits based on the primary income flows of the fishing industry.

Renewable Solution

Millennium engineers designs, and contracts manufacturers of solar lanterns, and develops and runs solar-powered sardine drying facilities. We lease solar lanterns to boat owners for night fishing in Tanzania. Our product eliminates the emission of over 15787.7 tonnes of CO2 in two years of its operations. Moreover, using our product saves money for fish boat owners, cutting their boat lighting bills by over 40%.

On the drying solution, our drying facility dries over 1.25 tonnes of sardine in 5 hours, enabling the boat owners to earn a premium price on their night catch (earn US$ 2.1% more than those dried on sand and grass) and can sell their product immediately to customers in the same day.

Project Financing and Costs

The total project cost is 500,000 EUR of which 350,000 EUR was received from EEP Africa, while 150,000 EUR was raised from other project partners. 

Project Outcome

  • Improved fishers’ health and working environment
  • Improved food security in the industry
  • Reduction of CO2 by 1,972 tonnes annually
  • Increased income margins for 1,000 fishers
  • Creation of direct and indirect income-generating opportunities for 300 local women

Next Steps

We envision scaling into different other fishing communities/sites in the region. In the future to reduce operating expenses, we would adopt a franchise model for the solar lanterns to shops this would also increase our market outreach in the region.