FAO’s improved fish processing method boosts Ghanaian fish industry

GHANA – The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has introduced an innovative oven for smoking of fish that reduces the Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbonsn(PAH) in smoked fish to 0.3ppm/kg which is less compared to the European Union (EU) market standard of 2ppm/kg.

The improved fish processing and preservation method (smoker), known as The FAO – Thiaroye Processing Technique (FTT) is made locally and its eco-friendly as it does not use the usual firewood that produces a lot of smoke.

Previously the ‘Chorkor’ smoker and the metal drum kiln were being used which utilized firewood as the smoking fuel thus containing high levels of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH).

In this regard it led to constant rejection of smoked fish from Ghana by the EU market.

Omar Penarubia, an official from FAO, said, “Several countries from Africa suffered rejection by the EU market. So, this raised awareness that a proper method should be used to reduce the PAH in smoked fish.”

With the innovation of FTT it has made smoked fish to be marketable both locally, in the EU market and globally at large.

According to GAIN Report 2019, Ghana reported exports of just under 80,000 MT of seafood in 2018 comprising almost entirely tuna. This represents a significant upswing from 55,000MT of reported exports in 2017.

In terms of export destinations for Ghanaian seafood, the EU is the primary consumer, with China the second largest in terms of volume.

Colombia, Iran, and Japan are other consistent destinations, but of much smaller volume.

In 2018, Ghana imported $311 million in seafood and fish products, an estimated 48 percent of its total demand, compared to an estimated 35 percent in 2010.

Fish is the preferred source of animal protein in Ghana and a central part of Ghanaian cuisine. Officials estimate Ghana’s average annual per capita consumption at just over 26 kg.

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