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SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction

Community of Practice on Food Loss Reduction

The FTT-Thiaroye processing technique, an innovation for post-harvest loss reduction in fisheries and aquaculture, presented at the 1st PHL Congress in Rome.

In Africa in particular, where smoking and drying are the most common methods for fish processing at small and medium scale level, the practices and techniques are constrained by significant challenges related to post-harvest losses, environmental issues, and value chain actors and consumers’ health.

For traditional sun-drying i.e. drying on bare ground, high postharvest losses occur in linkage with adverse climatic conditions that lengthen the drying process, and more specifically during rainy seasons which lead to deterioration of the product. For fish smoking, the non-compliance with sanitary requirements - mainly in the context of European and international export markets -, and the inconsistencies of the products can contribute to as much as 30% to 70% of losses of fish consignment’s quality deterioration and its physical removal from the supply chain.

To overcome the challenges posed by such inefficiencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) engaged in a collaborative undertaking with the National Training Centre for Fish and Aquaculture Technicians (CNFTPA) in Senegal to design and validate the FAO-Thiaroye fish processing technique (or FTT). This technology which has already been in use in many African countries since 2008 was presented during the ADMI 1st Congress on PHL Prevention held in Rome in October 2015.

A Poster described the technology and how incentives from the Codex Alimentarius Code of Practice and the framework of the African Network of Fish Technology and Safety have led to the process for its development. In addition to the innovation brought in fish smoking which is its main goal, the initiative also tapped on another opportunity: its potential to incorporate fish drying function. As far as fish drying is concerned, the FTT-Thiaroye allows this operation to be done regardless of the climate conditions, but also it increases the range of species that could be processed, which reinforces fish processors’ resilience in face of the climate variability. The high postharvest losses occurred at this stage – at least 10% and up to 50% - has been reduced to near zero. Same remark applies to fish smoking where the use of the FTT-Thiaroye enhances the quality and safety of the finished products. Economic losses due to rejection of unsafe or non-compliant smoked fish – valued at around $ 1,700,000 per year in the case of Côte d’Ivoire – can now be prevented. 

In other countries such as Ghana, Tanzania, Togo and Senegal, the Thiaroye system has similarly proven to be efficient in reducing post-harvest losses, increasing income of small-scale fish operators, and at the latest stage, improving livelihoods and food security of fishing communities.

More at: 

Poster (in English only, here); CoP Resources and FAO of the UN videos (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3