Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and the University of Dar es Salaam.
Introducing improved fuel saving smoking kilns into the small-scale fisheries value chain in Lake Tanganyika, Kigoma, Tanzania
Smoking is a traditional preservation method for fish used worldwide, increasing the shelf life and providing market flexibility of fish as a commercial product. This processing method is specifically important in the large geographical areas of the world that have little or no access to modern day cooling and freezing technologies, where smoking serves as the main method to prevent post-harvest losses alongside sun drying.
However, traditional smoking technologies are fuel inefficient contributing to high levels of deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the traditional product is heavily smoked and often charred, resulting in high levels of carcinogenic particles in the food which are a source of various health ailments developing over time, such as stomach cancers. The traditional kilns do also not provide safe or healthy working conditions, with fish processors having to stand in and inhale smoke for long periods of time while smoking the product, causing respiratory related ailments.
In this paper we present a joint research effort of the UNU-GEST, UNU-FTP and the Icelandic Food and Biotech R&D institute (MATÍS) which explored the gendered dimensions of the small-scale fisheries sector in Kigoma using the research methodology of gender-responsive value chain analysis. An important part of the field research was to follow up on the introduction of a new improved fuel saving smoking kiln (developed by MATÍS) into the area and record its effects on the value chain.
A major challenge of the Tanganyikan small-scale fisheries sector is the high post-harvest losses experienced during the high fishing season. This is especially important during the rainy season when sun drying the catch is not an option. Unfortunately, in Lake Tanganyika, the rainy season and the high fishing season go hand in hand and thus, improved kiln smoking technologies such as the one developed by MATÍS are an important step to overcome such challenges in a more cost and time effective, as well as a more environmentally friendly way.
In this paper we will present lessons learned from this project, introduce the small-scale fisheries value chain, how the improved kiln has affected it and the various hurdles and potentials, and successes and failures, of this development initiative.