FAO and the Liberian Government are making frantic efforts to end unhygienic fish handling and processing by empowering fishmongers and processors with the requisite knowledge to safely manage fish products in line with global standards.
FAO, working with the National Fishery and Aqua-cultural Authority, NAAFA, trained over 30 fishmongers and fish processor associations on “improved fish handling and processing best practices.”
By hygienically handling their fish and improving the processing (drying) methods, fishmongers and processors will add value and quality to their products, trade on the world stage and earn more money.
Government officials, civil society, fishing community leaders and journalists participated in the training which promoted the usage of modern fish processing technologies and observing COVID-19 measures, under an FAO project, with funding from the Japanese Government.
The project is titled: “The Livelihood Empowerment for Women in Small-scale Fisheries During and After COVID-19,” and promotes Food Security and Nutrition, Resilience Building and Sustainable Livelihood.
FAO Assistant Representative for Programmes, Octavius Quarbo stated that Liberian fishmongers and processors are handling and processing fish, but their methods may not be up to the prescribed international standards to add value to Liberian fish products.
Mr. Quarbo, speaking on behalf of FAO Representative in Liberia Mariatou Njie, said the training is the first in a series that FAO intends to execute on hygienic fish handling and improved processing techniques for fish mongers and processors as well as other actors in the fishery sector.
Representing the Director General of the National Fishery and Aquaculture Authority, Mr. William Boeh, Deputy Director General for Technical Services at NAAFA, urged the participants to acquire the knowledge needed to promote the sanitary handling of fish and utilize the improved processing technologies.
Mr. Boeh asked FAO and partners to ensure that the requisite knowledge be provided to the participants to enable them disseminate the proper information on improved fish handling and processing techniques to others in their respective communities, associations, organizations and agencies.
Speaking for the trainees, Madam Annette Johnson said the training was good because it taught them the importance of safely handling and processing fish and the values that come with observing such best practices-good health and more earnings.
Madam Johnson who heads AWFISHNET-Liberia, lauded FAO and NAAFA for the workshop and the People of Japan for funding the project. AWFISHNET is the African Union Fish Processing Network, established in April 2017 with membership from African Union States.
The FTT, an innovative technique with important advantages for actors of the fisheries supply chain, was designed through the collaborative efforts of FAO and the National Training Center for Fisheries and Aquaculture Technicians (CNFTPA).
In Liberia, the usual processing methods cause serious health implications for both processors and consumers. The main hazard relates to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are known to have cancer-occurring potential. In addition, the metal drums used for smoking are often sharp at the edges and sometimes cut the processor.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.