Food Loss and Waste in Fish Value Chains
©FAO/Liliane Kambirigi
  • Supportive Policy Environment
  • Application of Appropriate Technology
  • Skills and Knowledge
  • Services and Infrastructure
  • Regulatory Environment
  • Social and Gender Equity
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Application of Appropriate Technology for Artisanal Fish Drying

Food loss and waste (FLW) in artisanal fish drying is associated with a lack of adequate technology, drying fish on the ground, and poor weather conditions (e.g. rain). Four technologies are summarized below, which offer potential solutions to FLW: raised drying racks, mechanical driers, solar driers and other processing methods.

Drying Racks

Drying Racks

Raised drying racks enable fish to be dried off of the ground faster and in a cleaner environment.  

For example, in the United Republic of Tanzania, sardine processors recognize that fish dries faster on raised platforms, resulting in an end product that is free from sand. Buyers take notice of the quality, and are prepared to pay a good price. In Uganda, the use of drying racks has reduced the loss of lake sardine (Rastrineobola argentea) to a negligible level.  

Drying racks can be made from wood or metal. When investing in a drying rack, it is important to take note of the quality of the drying surface. The surface should be a durable, rot-proof and clean material which doesn’t tear or need to be renewed on a periodic basis. 

Work in India under the ODA Bay of Bengal Programme examined the use of racks to reduce FLW in the anchovy processing sector. The project demonstrated that raised drying racks could improve quality and contribute to value-addition. The project also involved the development of regional market linkages. The full case study can be accessed here.

The use of drying racks can also be seen in this video of improved anchovy processing.

Mechanical Dryers

Mechanical Dryers

Mechanical dryers can be used to dry fish in all weather, at any time and to a uniform standard. They typically require energy which can be supplied by electricity, combustion of wooden materials or bio-digestion which can be costly. However, the investment and running costs will demand the production of high value products.  

A high tech mechanical drying is shown in this video.

Solar Dryers

Solar Dryers

Solar dryers are efficient at capturing the sun’s energy. Fish are placed on racks inside enclosed structures and covered in polythene. Solar dryers can be costly to make, require maintenance, and need sunny conditions in order to operate effectively. It may therefore prove challenging to operate solar dryers in times of poor weather conditions.

The use of an experimental solar dryer in shown in this video.

Additionally, an example from Malawi can be found in this video.

Other Methods

Other Methods

Other traditional preservation methods, such as salting and smoking, can be used instead of drying to avoid reliance on the sun’s energy.

Key Publications

The Production of Dried Fish

Detailed description of dried fish production and storage.                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Construction of Raised Drying Racks for Fish - The Experience from Burundi

A common processing technique, fish drying, is done on bare ground, which can lead to alteration and loss of products. The FAO and Burundi Fisheries Directorate started a project to improve these processing methods.

Small Scale Processing of Fish

Types of fish species, fish products, processing technologies, processing methods, and suggestions for avoiding spoilage before, during and after processing, are discussed. This publication gives particular regard to small-scale producers in developing countries.

 

More Resources

More Resources

This guide is for dried-shrimp producers and buyers and aims to describe good processing, handling and hygiene practices that will help producers maximize the value and income from dried shrimp. 
A common processing technique, fish drying, is done on bare ground, which can lead to alteration and loss of products. The FAO and Burundi Fisheries Directorate started a project to improve these processing methods....
This book seeks to address the challenges facing the international seafood industry by presenting the background against which fish processing will exist in the future, and by looking at the sustainability issues relating to conventional...