Business News of Thursday, 15 September 2016
Source: Hinneh, Samuel
By Samuel Hinneh
An energy efficiency improved fish smoking stove to help women fish processors reduce the quantity of firewood in smoking fish and improve quality of smoked fish in the country has been launched by United States Agency for International Development (USAID/Ghana) Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) and implementing partners.
The improved fish smoking stove, referred to as Ahotor stove, is not so much different from the Chokor smoker, another version of improved fish smoking technology was launched at Winneba, in the central region, was developed by the USAID/Ghana SFMP and seven partners.
The Ahotor stove also reduces the content of Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PaH) contamination level, usually found in smoked fish, a contributor to cancer disease, research has shown.
The seven partners involved in the five year USAID/Ghana SFMP which seeks to rebuild the country’s fisheries stock through sustainable fishing practices include Development Action Association (DAA), Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), among others.
Mr Emmanuel Kwarteng, a technical advisor for the SNV says the technology is an improvement of the existing Chorkor smoker, being used by women fish processors and solves health and energy efficiency problems.
“It comes with fat collector which is an intervention to separate the fat, the oil, blood from dropping back into the fire and then burning and settling on the fish increasing the PaH content as well as so much smoke that is seen in the Chorkor smoker that also raises the PaH content in smoked fish,” he stated.
According to him, “PaH is content contamination of food that has some health issues, reducing PaH content in smoked fish is ensuring the final is healthy and good for consumption as well as less content contamination.”
The Ahotor stove has a combustion chamber that ensures efficient combustion or efficient burning of wood. Also it has a fat collector that prevents blood, oil, and fat dropping into the fire. The technology also has the compartment that raises the firewood for enough oxygen and ensures that all the charcoal deposit burns well. It comes in single and double unit but depends on smoking capacity of the fish processor, large fish processor may go in for the double unit while single unit is for medium fish processors.
The full unit of the stove costs 2330 cedis while the SFMP offers a 30 percent price subsidy to the first 150 early adopters of the technology with focus on women fish processors.
“The SFMP is still in negotiation with GN Bank to partner to provide loan facility for the women to access the loan and those who cannot pay outright rely on the loan and pay back in instalment with considerable interest rate and terms of payment. The fish processing is a seasonal activity and we hope during the bumper season they can pay of the loan,” Mr Kwarteng said.
Mr Abraham Asare, the DAA Programmes Manager stated that the stove is healthy and hygienic because in terms of producing healthy fish, in the sense the oil is collected on the tray and at does not mix with the fire to cause issues such as high PaH that research shows can cause cancer.
“There is also combustion chamber that is totally separated from the fish, oil, and blood. We are trying to teach the women hygienic practices through training such as using gloves, covering of hair, nose guard and avoid spitting on the ground while working in an effort to produce quality fish.
“The technology uses very few firewood and can save a lot of money, and add value to the fish. The project has come with a financing scheme by liaising where the bank to grant credit to the women to assist the women pay in instalment with low interest rate for a period of six months.