….as FAO installs modern facility
Residents of the FCT and neighbouring states will soon have cheaper, safer and standard smoked fish to buy when the newly installed processing facility in Abuja becomes fully operational.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has completed the installation of three compartments of a modern fish smoking plant at the popular Kado Fish Market.
Similar facilities are being installed in three other states, which cost FAO over $500,000. About 1000 young processors have also been trained to effectively use the facilities.
This is expected to bring down the price of smoked fish and address food safety concern with the traditional system of smoking with firewood which takes a whole day.
There are thousands of small-scale processors in the market but poor processing and handling raise food safety concerns among consumers.
FAO Program Officer Mrs. Adeola Akinrinlola stated the installed equipment has the capacity to process over 1000 fish in about four to five hours using coal.
Mrs. Adeola further said that FAO was installing similar technology in some selected states to enhance the quality of processed fish that can meet export criteria.
Currently, fish processing at Kado Market, which is the biggest fish market in the North Central serving neighbouring states – Niger, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Plateau -is done using the old fashion method under thick smoke.
The new FAO installed facilities are a multilayer system designed in Ghana which allows the processors to smoke up to 500 fishes in one compartment within four to five hours.
The system uses coal as against firewood currently used by local processors, which generates thick smoke that could lead to health complications because of long hours of exposure involved to process a few fish a day.
Alhaji Mohammed Ibrahim, chairman of Kado Fish Traders and Processing Association, who spoke with Daily Trust on the facilities said it would be a great leap to transition to a modern facility that will strengthen their processing capability.
This is expected to bring down the price of processed fish because of the reduction in the cost of processing. Cost of firewood will be eliminated and more fish will be processed in a few hours.
In addition, fish processed in the facilities will meet the export certification standard and address food safety standard, which is the goal of FAO.
Bashir Amin of the Federal Department of Fishery called it a significant step towards modernising the fishery industry to meet global best practices, adding that FAO has been a great partner not only on the project but other projects as well.