Women in Abobodoumé, Côte d’Ivoire, huddle around
the FAO-Thiaroye Processing Technique (FTT-Thiaroye)
to smoke fish. (Photo Credit: FAO)
25 February 2015. A new and easy-to-assemble fish drying technology pioneered by FAO is helping to reduce health hazards, improve food safety and quality, improve working conditions and cut down food losses in West African fishing villages.
Smoked fish is a vital source of food and income for many African coastal communities. In Côte d'Ivoire, for example, an estimated 20-30 percent of local marine and freshwater catch is consumed in smoked form, according to FAO.
A popular protein alternative, smoked fish is preferred by locals because of its taste, its nutritional benefits, its competitive prices compared to other protein sources such as milk, meat and eggs, and its long shelf-life which ranges from 3-6 months. However, traditional kilns widely used to prepare this popular food item do pose some concerns.
"Traditional smoking techniques often involve a massive burning of wood which leads to a variety of problems. For one, an exorbitant amount of CO2 is produced, so the kilns produce more greenhouse gas pollution than they should. Also, traditional smoking releases contaminants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are carcinogenic and hazardous to the human respiratory system," says Yvette Diei-Ouadi, a fishery industry expert at FAO.
In the following interview she explains what these problems are how a new project has revolutionized the process of fish smoking in this community. Detail Audio | FAO | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Traditional techniques also leave higher amounts of tar particles on the final product, affecting taste and quality - making it much more difficult to sell. The new FTT technology - consisting of a dual functioning oven and mechanical drier, which also can act as storage unit - is especially designed to help small-scale fish processors like those in Abobodoumé prepared and market safe, high-quality food.
A result of five years of design improvements, FTT, makes it easy to upgrade traditional ovens and is capable of significantly slashing the carcinogenic contaminants produced during smoking. At the same time, the technology reduces the amount of fuel needed and provides a load capacity five times greater than traditional barrel ovens or twice the Chorkor kiln.