Fish processors have been urged to switch to the improved fish smoking stove, specially designed to enhance the quality of smoked fish.
This will help address the health and economic challenges encountered with the traditional method.
.Christened “Ahotor” (comfort) stove by fish processors, it was introduced by Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), and the Council for Scientific Industrial Research (Food Research Institute) and the Fisheries Commission.
The innovation was under the USAID / Ghana Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) which seeks, among other things to achieve post-harvest improvement and community livelihood development chain along coastal communities.
A baseline survey carried out by the 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 accounting for high post-harvest losses and low profit margins among traders.
Exposure to smoke triggers asthma and causes cancer in some cases; it 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 stove promotional work and customer satisfaction survey carried out, it has become evident that the need for improved stoves is imperative as it addresses fish processing problems and cost effective as it uses less firewood.
Speaking at a campaign on the improved stove at Elmina, Mr. Emmanuel Kwarteng, a technical advisor for SNV said the new oven was an upgrade of the Chorkor stove 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.
He encouraged the fish processors to patronise the stove and to be part of the new wave of fish processing and reiterated the commitment of partners in the SFMP Project to continue to provide the needed support to sustain the country’s fisheries.
Madam Diana Otuteye, a fish processor from Moree, elaborated on the challenges associated with the old chorkor stove, which made fish processing a tedious work adding that the new stove would bring them relief and reduce cost of business.
The campaign dubbed ‘Let’s switch to Ahotor oven; save fuel, protect our forest now’ was attended by fish processors at Elmina, Moree, Anlo and Cape Coast and was preceded by a procession through Elmina township to press home the need to switch to the new oven.
From Jonathan Donkor, Elmina