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Asia Adopts Fish-smoking Technique First Launched in Africa

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TechInAfrica – The traditional fish-smoking process exposes women who smoke fish in Eastern Sri Lanka to great health hazards due to the amount of smoke they inhale during the process. Women in these fishing communities spend hours tending to their fish laid out on various sizes of mesh and placed over red-hot coals. But with the intense labor, the output of this traditional method turns out to be very low.  However, a new smoking kiln developed through a program funded by the EU and pioneered by the FAO is on the way to change everything and simplify the fish smoking process.

The FTT-Thiaroye which has been undergoing development since 2008, is a new fish-smoking and drying kiln developed by the FAO. The oven can be built for a specific purpose or come with chimney for smoke-capturing and oil-collection trays. The FTT-Thiaroye is made for better fuel-efficiency while smoking fish by encapsulating smoke and heat. It also prevents health hazards fish farmers suffer from the traditional method.

The smoking technology developed by the FAO is now widely in use in over 12 African countries. It protects women from suffering skin and eye irritations including respiratory disease the smoke can cause. However, women using this new technology have not only been able to increase their income significantly but have their health improved.

The FAO in conjunction with the EU Support to Distribute Development Programme for the first time introduced the smoking technology to the Asian continent. They started with Sri Lanka, a place where fish is a source of nutrition and livelihood.

Nina Brandstrup, FAO’s representative in Sri Lanka said the new smoking kiln will make fish business more profitable for poor families in the region as a result of value addition. According to her, the organization also has plans to make the technology available to other areas of the country. Guidelines in local languages will be made available while extension workers will be trained to provide advice and support on the use and construction of the fish-smoking ovens.

The project in Asia championed by the EU-SDDP is on the verge of constructing another eight ovens in Sri Lanka. “The program came at the right time to Asia, a region responsible for almost half of the smoked fish consumed in the world,” said Yvette Diei Ouadi who is the programme’s coordinator and fishery office in FAO.

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