Fish smoking: Malians soak up Ivorian expertise
A Malian delegation, visiting the Mohammed VI wharf in Locodjro, immerses itself in the expertise of fishmongers and processors in smoking fish with FTT ovens.
This experience-sharing trip was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It is intended as a tool for popularizing and disseminating good practices in fish smoking to guarantee quality products and the health of populations.
According to Mr. Koné Aboubakar, national administrator of the Coastal Fisheries Initiative – West Africa (IPC-AO) project in Côte d’Ivoire, this project also aims to support small-scale fisheries stakeholders in order to improve their working conditions.
The FTT oven is a system built on the achievements of existing models of improved ovens which are already widely adopted on the African continent, such as the Chorkor. It was born out of collaborative efforts between FAO and the CNFTPA Training Institute in Senegal.
It includes a charcoal oven, a grease plate, a smoke generator, and an air distributor. This technique is a response to the need to improve small-scale fish drying and smoking operations.
Mr. Koné Aboubakar pointed out that smoking fish in the FTT oven improves the quality of the fish by avoiding carcinogenic products called PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) unlike the traditional oven which exposes the health of consumers to diseases.
To democratize these good practices, the FAO, at the level of Côte d’Ivoire, brings fishmongers from Sassandra, a seaside town in the south-west of Côte d’Ivoire, to the Locodjro landing stage. Also, women from Locodjro made the trip to exchange experiences in Senegal, where the FTT ovens were developed.
Processor of fish products, Sana known as Wony Tiéminta, director of a fish farming training center in Mali and member of the National Union of Women involved in the fishing industry, welcomes this FAO initiative.
“We felt like we were at school. It’s one thing to learn knowledge in a notebook, it’s another to practice it in the field. Already, we have the feeling that we have a solution in our luggage to return to the country,” said Wony Tiéminta.
“In Mali, today, we have a lot of problems, especially for the export of smoked fish because of the high rate of PAHs in our products”, informs Sana who thinks that the FTT oven system “is the solution to our problems in Mali”.
She suggests that it would be wise to bring young Malian craftsmen to Abidjan to learn the technique of installing FTT ovens, because in view of the challenges in the processing of fish products, “it is a synergy that is essential to ‘herself “.
In Mali, she reports, “it is mainly traditional ovens that are used and a few years ago there were Chorkor ovens”. Otherwise, generally, “we use insecticides and chemicals to maintain the smoked fish in a state for conservation”.
With this practice, “it is difficult to export this smoked fish”, confides Wony Tiéminta. This visit facilitated by FAO Mali and falling within the framework of institutional support to the government, gives it a means to have competitive products on the regional market.
Dr Kossobo Abdoulaye Aziz, technical co-consultant in the coordination of the project at FAO Mali, notes that this visit is part of a project entitled promotion of standards and codes of practice in the smoked fish sector and documentation of potential and positive facts about other sectors.
This project is funded by the Standards and Trade Development Facility. A joint initiative of the WHO and the FAO, its objective is to supply equipment and develop local capacities in the monitoring of contaminants in foodstuffs.
The FAO office in Mali has implemented project MTF/MLI/063/STF on the safety of fish products released for human consumption. This project has made it possible to identify significant levels of post-capture losses and residues of chemical contaminants, in particular PAHs in smoked products.
Following the exchanges of the national steering committee of this project held on July 06, 2022 in Bamako, the members recommended an experience sharing visit to Côte d’Ivoire to observe models of improved fish smoking ovens.
The overall objective of this mission, which takes place from January 24 to 28, 2023, is to capitalize on the lessons learned from Ivorian processors using FTT ovens or other ovens or fish processing-conservation techniques, and to share good practices. to replicate in Mali.
During this visit, the FAO Côte d’Ivoire Coastal Fisheries Initiative project team organized a fish smoking demonstration session using FTT ovens. This demonstration was carried out by the processors of Locodjro for the benefit of fish processors in Mali.