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FAO support to capacity development for the reduction of post-harvest fisheries losses in Côte d'Ivoire

04 Apr 2016

Within inland fisheries communities and across many coastal countries in Africa, fish provide the main source of animal protein and valuable micronutrients in populations’ diet. In Côte d’Ivoire in particular, fisheries play a vital role in the national economy, with an average per-capita consumption of 13.2 kilo per year. Domestic demand remains strong, but amongst the most glaring problems, post-harvest losses pose a real threat especially in terms of food supply and fish operators’ livelihoods.

The FAO technical cooperation project (TCP) ‘Support to capacity development and regulatory framework for the reduction of post-harvest fisheries losses’ aimed to enhance the livelihoods and working conditions of fish operators, while guaranteeing a safe and better quality smoked fish to consumer. Addressing fish post-harvest losses is a key component of the project.

Post-harvest losses in four selected pilot sites – Marcory Anoumabo, Abobodoumé, Brafedon, and Guessabo -, were assessed as much as 23.317 tons per year, with a total estimated sales value of US$ 12 million. The massive use of wood including the mangrove, as fuel constitutes another detrimental practice, source of loss, estimated to about 112.000 tons of wood with a commercial value of US$ 3.7 million. As shown with the example from Anoumabo, the use of traditional cylindrical mud ovens incur up to 263 tons of fish losses per year, i.e. about 15% of the total catch volumes valued at over US$ 161.700, mostly linked to quality losses (high level of contaminants) and physical loss for charred fish during smoking.

On 14 – 16 March 2016, when national stakeholders and international experts of the project gathered in Daloa (western Côte d’Ivoire), to discuss the results of that FAO intervention in the country, the Minister of animal and fisheries resources Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani reiterated the importance of artisanal fisheries in the perspective of sustainable development for national fisheries and aquaculture. He explained how modern technologies help women fish processors smoke a big quantity of fish, preventing high level of the production from being lost due to outdated techniques and poor practices.

During the implementation of the project, technological platforms were developed and equipped with solar powered fish preservation facilities and modern fish processing technologies. Trainings in the use of such technologies and in good hygiene and fish handling practices within decent working conditions have been provided to about 4000 women processors, to deliver the best outcomes. The target beneficiaries were mainly introduced the FAO-Thiaroye processing technique (or FTT-Thiaroye), an innovative system for drying, smoking, and storage proven to be efficient in reducing post-harvest losses. Its suitability to process other value-added products (fish cakes, sausages, snacks, Kamaboko, etc.) was also demonstrated.

In Brafedon, Cecile Lakpa, speaking on behalf of women fish processors, has promised to make good use of the equipments received. ‘’Other centres with support facilities and fish processing technologies should be launched in order to fully meet the needs of all fish processors’’, she further argued. Such expectation will be fulfilled soon, as other development institutions like the Swedish International Development Agency through the FAO Multi-Partner Programme Support Mechanism (FMM) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) committed in funding the initiatives for capitalizing the outputs of the TCP over a wider geographic area and beyond the fishery value chain. The AfDB project in Côte d’Ivoire to be implemented by FAO will indeed build on the FTT-Thiaroye experience in fisheries to, among others, address the safety of smoked products in the pork sector.

Another significant output of the project is the regulatory text for the prevention and reduction of fish loss and waste, to be submitted to the government for enacting and subsequent enforcement instruments adoption.   

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