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SNV works to improve fish processing and sustainability

By: Ama Amankwah Baafi
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Adopting hygienic processing of fish will safeguard the health of processors and consumers.
Adopting hygienic processing of fish will safeguard the health of processors and consumers.

The SNV Netherlands Development Organisation has in collaboration with some stakeholders come up with a ‘Class 1 Scheme’ aimed at ensuring that fish sold in the Ghanaian market is wholesome.

The scheme gives guidelines to producing fish that are free from microbial and chemical contaminants and is one of the significant roles by the SNV under the Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP).

The Country Programme Coordinator, SNV Voice for Change Partnership (V4CP) programme, Mr Eric Banye, said the intervention areas in Ghana were on agriculture (food and nutrition security), renewable energy and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

He said the food and nutrition security was focused on sustainable nutrition for all with an emphasis on gender and nutrition value chains, Post-Harvest Losses (PHL) and food safety.

“The food and nutrition security seeks to ensure that both the government and the private sector improve the service provision by creating the enabling environment for people to have sustainable access to sufficient, affordable and nutritious food,” he stated during a media interaction in Accra.

The programme was to give the media first-hand information on the activities of the V4CP over the past three years and to share the development impact by the SNV in Ghana over the years.

The SFMP
The fish smoking sub-sector in Ghana is highly dependent on fuelwood as a source of energy such that where it is limited, mangrove is used, and the extent of depletion leads to the degradation of the forest systems. 

To improve post-harvest activities under the project, the SNV led the development of an improved fish smoking technology, ‘ahotor oven’ to address the health challenge of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) found in smoked fish and reduce the amount of fuelwood needed for smoking.

Consequently, five stove building companies have emerged with 36 local artisans trained in the ‘ahotor’oven construction, all aimed at improving fish smoking in a more hygienic and conducive way.  

The Ahotor comprises a combustion chamber fitted centrally to the design, grate, drip-collector, with fish processing trays as in normal operation of the Chorkor ovens.

Experts say PAH levels are further reduced with an introduction of ash during the fish processing.

Also, as part of promoting the ahotor oven among processors, the SNV organised training focused on the hygienic handling of fish, business development and on the use of maintenance of the ‘ahotor’ oven for processors in the Volta Region.

Background
The V4CP is an evidence-based advocacy programme being implemented by the SNV in partnership with the International Food and Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for five years, 2016-2020.

The aim is to strengthen Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to advocate for an enabling environment in which governments and businesses provide good and affordable services for low-income segments in society.

The five-year advocacy programme, which is currently being implemented in six countries-Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Honduras and Indonesia, is expected to train and improve the capacities of 12 CSOs from the energy, water and sanitation and food security sectors.   

Ultimately, the CSOs will have improved capacities in leadership, advocacy, utilisation data and evidence, knowledge of relevant themes and business development.