Most fishmongers are reluctant to use the improved modern fish smoking technology-"Ahotor Oven" with the reason that the final product does not look well smoked due to the light colour of the fish compared to the traditional oven, (Chorkor).
Hence, the Fisheries Commission (FC), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in fisheries and other relevant stakeholders have been urged to intensify efforts to come up with good marketing strategies and proper education that would make the colour acceptable to the fishmongers and the general public.
They are also to collaborate to open Ahotor oven demonstration, exhibition and promotion centres to engage the public and fishmongers on the benefits associated with the use of the oven and to encourage consumers to patronise fish smoked with the oven to safeguard their health.
These were contained in findings and recommendations of a research undertaken by the Central and Western Fishmongers Association (CEWEFIA) to ascertain the relationship between the improved technology and the level of income generated by fishmongers.
The research, titled "the relationship between the improved technology and the level of income generated by the fishmongers in the Central and Western Regions of Ghana: challenges of the implementation" was carried out in five fishing communities in the two regions.
It further recommended that attention and support be given to small and medium enterprises and processing associations trying to reach the EU PAHs threshold by improved methods, making traditional smoking safer and directly benefiting to the Ghanaian population.
Presenting the findings of the research at a stakeholder's workshop in Cape Coast on Thursday, Mr Mathew Ade, Project Director of Coastal Network Consortium explained that the acceptance and use of Ahotor oven would determine the maximum product yield potential of fishmongers in the Central and Western regions.
The workshop was facilitated by CEWEFIA under the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Action Project with officials of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Fisheries Commission (FC), Environmental Health Department and Ghana Standard Authority (GSA) participating.
It was to offer status update and accept contributions from the stakeholders on the way forward on the best implementation of the project.
Mr Ade said acceptance and usage of the oven would go a long way to avoid European Union ban on fish exports from Ghana on health grounds.
The use of more efficient and less polluting climate smart cook stoves to enable women smoke in healthier conditions as compared to the traditional smoking method like Chorkor Smoker could not be over-emphasised.
Mr Kwame Damoah, Mfantseman Zonal Director of the FC commended CEWEFIA for the support and efforts in promoting usage of the ahotor oven among fishmongers.
He said government as part of efforts to promote usage of the oven, distributed some of the ovens to fishmongers in the Central, Western, Greater Accra and Volta Regions and encouraged fish consumers and the public to purchase fish smoked with the new oven.
Mr Damoah indicated that the Commission in collaboration with the Environmental Health Department would soon rank and reward cleanest fishing communities while dirty communities would be named and shamed.
Madam Naa Korkoi Ewudzie, Senior Regulatory Officer of the FDA stressed the need for the fish processors to produce value added fish products that were hygienically packaged and safe for human consumption.
She said it was imperative that the packaging, storage and preservation of their fishery products met the required standards.