Fish processors have been urged to switch to the improved fish smoking ‘Ahotor Oven’, specially designed to enhance the quality of smoked fish.
This will help address the health and economic challenges associated with the traditional method of smoking fish.
The improved fish smoking Ahotor Oven was introduced by Netherlands Development Organisation SNV in partnership with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the Fisheries Commission.
The innovation was under the USAID Ghana Sustainable Fisheries Management Project, which seeks to solve post-harvest losses and community livelihood development chain along coastal communities.
Radio Ghana’s correspondent Sheriff Iddrisu, was among selected journalists who visited the Central and Western Fishmongers improvement Association’s Fish Processing Centre at Elimina.
A survey carried out by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and USAID Sustainable Fisheries Management Project,SFMP, indicated that the use of traditional methods by the fishmongers to process, preserve and store fish for the Ghanaian market is one of the reasons for high post-harvest losses and low profit margins among fish mongers in the various Fishing Communities.
The old method exposes them to smoke which triggers asthma and causes cancer in some cases. It also reduces the confidence level of women in engaging with their spouses and partners because of the smell it leaves in their dresses.
As a result of the improved Ahotor oven pilot work and customer satisfaction survey, it has become evident that the improved Ahotor Oven is imperative as it addresses fish processing problems and cost effective as it uses less firewood.
Speaking to Obonu News at the Fish Process Centre in Elmina on the improved stove, the Communication Officer of the Central and Western Fishmongers Association, CEWEFIA said the new oven is an upgrade of the Chorkor oven and has a combustion chamber that efficiently burns the fuel wood resulting in less emission of smoke.
It also has a fat collector which prevents the oil from the fish from dropping into the fire and causing toxic smoke.
She noted that about 90% of fish smoked in the country cannot be exported, hence the need to encourage the fish processors to patronize the new oven.
A Fishmonger at the Elmina Fish Processing Centre, Rosemary Akpe who spoke to Obonu News emphasized the need for other fishmongers to be part of the new wave of fish processing and reiterated the commitment of partners in the project to continue to provide the needed support to sustain the country’s fisheries.
She explained the health implication towards the old oven.