Traditional Fish Smoking Among Artisan Processors in Lake Victoria Crescent, Uganda
Traditional fish smoking is among the fish preservation methods practiced in Uganda. This artisanal sector has promoted the availability of smoked fish (a source of cheap proteins) to consumers from local and regional markets. Despite sectors’ popularity and demand for smoked fish, quality and safety issues alongside fish losses attributed to fish smoking, remain outstanding issues that require understanding of fish smoking practices in Uganda. Hence, this study examined the socio-economic characteristics, technologies and hygiene practices of processors in 14 landing sites around islands and shores of Lake Victoria crescent. A total of 104 structured questionnaires were administered through purposive sampling, supplemented by field observations, to collect data. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The survey revealed that fish smoking was the most preferred method of fish preservation dominated by females (75%). In addition, rectangular brick/mud kilns were the most (85.6%) used type of kilns to smoke fish employing firewood from both soft and hard wood tree species as fuel. The main fish species smoked were; Nile perch (49.3%) and Tilapia (37.8%). Despite the inadequate hygienic handling practices during; transportation, preparation, smoking, storage and marketing of fish, the smoking flow diagram followed in Uganda was similar to the generic smoking procedure used in other countries. This indicated potential for fish quality improvement once proper measures are enforced. Hence, training, use of improved fish smoking technologies like Chorkor kilns, provision of soft loans among other interventions are recommended. Regardless, fish smoking business is still promising amidst enormous challenges reported.
Fish Smoking, Processors, Preservation, Consumption, Quality, Kiln, Uganda
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