FAO Regional Office for Africa

Reducing post-harvest losses: A challenge for fisheries in DR Congo

FAO builds capacities of the Central Administration for Fisheries and Aquaculture and stakeholders to minimize post-harvest losses

Photo: © FAO/Xavier Farhay

Kinshasa, 8 June 2016 – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is supporting the capacity building of the Post-harvest Unit for its organization and operation. A training session was organized in Kinshasa for 30 officials from the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Administration and the decentralized agencies in the provinces of Congo Central and Kinshasa, as well as members of fishermen’s and fish merchants’ associations. The activity is part of the closure of the project “Support to the reduction of post-harvest fish losses in the estuary of the River Congo, Central Congo Province”.

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock, Mr Christophe Emile Mota, seized the opportunity to call upon all development partners, donors and the private sector to support this project through a wide dissemination of this approach as well as post-harvest fish processing techniques and technologies to benefit the small-scale producers and women engaged in fish processing and marketing in high potential fishing zones. He also stressed the importance of prioritizing fishing sites where child malnutrition is prevalent.

Understanding the challenges of post-harvest losses

For three days, the participants increased their understanding of the problem of post-harvest losses and have been equipped with the necessary knowledge to effectively and sustainably address them in order to capitalize on the results of the project. This included a mutual understanding of the problem of post-harvest losses; the basics in post-harvest techniques and management, the case of the FAO-Thiaroye product processing system; situational analysis, organization, and identification of responsibilities and the means for a sustainable and operational Post-harvest Unit. All of these have helped to define a project exit strategy with priority elements upon which to build a national strategy for the reduction of post-harvest losses in DRC, which is yet to be developed.

Optimizing fishery products

Missed opportunities in terms of food security due to fish loss, a commodity rich in nutrients (beyond proteins, polyunsaturated fatty acids and micronutrients, essential for physical growth and development, cognitive function and prevention of health problems) were highlighted, particularly during the presentation on the FTT-Thiaroye technique, which is an effective tool for reducing post-harvest losses, used for cooking, hot smoking, drying, and storage of products as well as diversification and development of other value-added products including sausages, burgers, stuffed products, and fish cakes made from low value species.

To ensure the dissemination of this type of conservation technology and fish processing, a special attention should be given to the operationalization of the Post-Harvest Unit whose organic structure, responsibilities and needed resources have been defined in this workshop. The unit will be tasked to monitor, train and manage the post-harvest area so as to scale up the experiences in other water bodies of the national territory. In effect, it will ensure – directly and, in some cases, in collaboration with other authorized services – the coordination, facilitation and implementation of any actions aimed at preventing and sustainably reducing post-harvest losses, add value to fish products and ensure their adequate marketing.

“The dissemination of the FTT oven innovations will only have limited effects if there is no functional Post-Harvest Unit in the national and decentralized Fisheries Administration, which is able to stimulate, monitor, train, popularize and manage the post-harvest sector, so as to scale up the experiences in other water bodies of the national territory”, said the FAO Representative, Alexis Bonte. According to him, this Post-Harvest Unit will play a catalytic role and will have an eye on all aspects of post-harvest and contribute to communities’ empowerment.

FAO and the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo expect that by the end of this training, these officials of the Fisheries Administration will be sufficiently equipped to develop a national program based on strategies for the reduction of post-harvest fish losses.

Related links:

Sustainable Fisheries Livelihoods Programme (SFLP)

Background document for the training on governance of marine fisheries in the AOA-OI Sub-region




Communication Officer (DRC)

[email protected]