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FAO training on modern fish processing underway in West Africa

Eradicating hunger and malnutrition through fisheries and aquaculture

Photo: ©FAO/Suela Krifa

20 February 2019, Ghana – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) kick started a training programme in modern fish processing for rural fishing communities in Ghana to create employment opportunities in agribusiness and sustainable fisheries/aquaculture systems.

The event, to be replicated in Senegal, was organized by the FAO with support from the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF). The project envisions to strengthen the beneficiaries’ capacity on the practical aspects of the FAO Thiaroye Processing Technology (FTT) smoking kilns, an innovative method in fish smoking.

The ASTF is a unique Africa-led fund to support African development initiatives. Dismas Mbabazi, Fishery and Aquaculture Officer said, “Its main goal is to strengthen food security across the continent by assisting countries and their regional organizations to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, eliminate rural poverty, and manage natural resources in a sustainable manner through the generation of youth employment.”

The series of trainings are in line with the project, “Creating Decent Employment Opportunities for Youth Sustainable Aquaculture systems and Cassava Value Chains in West Africa,” and took place in Ghana, to be copied in Senegal.

In Ghana, a total of 120 youth beneficiaries benefited from the fish processing training. This capacity can serve as a source of employment, livelihood, and improved health of fish processors by providing access to improved kilns for fish smoking.

At least 45 beneficiaries including 20 youths between the ages 18-35 years in each community involved in fish processing benefitted from the training. The training looks into improving fish production through reduced post-harvest losses as well as enhancing food safety.

The five beneficiary communities are located in three regions of Ghana: Axim and Metika (Western), Elmina and Winneba (Central), and Kokrobite (Greater Accra).

The beneficiaries underwent training on theory and practical aspects of fish processing using the FTT smoking kilns. Additionally, the training provided them with the knowledge on how to operate and maintain the FTT smoking kilns, as well as procedures on food safety and appropriate hygienic practices.

Abigail Kanyi, FAO’s focal point for the training, said, “The training also covered the fuel efficiency, health and superior product benefits of the technology in comparison to the traditional smoking kilns and opportunities for premium domestic and export markets.”

About the FTT

The FAO-Thiaroye Technique (FTT) is an improved fish smoking technology pioneered by FAO. This technique is energy-friendly as compared to traditional smoking ovens. FAO successfully introduced the FTT in Tema Newtown where a women’s group process fish for exporting businesses. The quality of the fish guarantees that FTT-smoked fisheries products from Ghana cannot be rejected any longer.

Way forward

FAO played its catalytic role by a number of pilot projects and presently seeks financing agencies to upscale this technique, not only in Ghana but in all countries where women and youth smoke fish as a profession. 

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