Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), in a bid to help
women fish processors in the Kombo South Coastal settlement of Gunjur, through
the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources yesterday officially handed over
a new fish-smoking oven at the Gunjur Fish Landing Site.
The new innovation in fish smoking called the “FAO-Thiaroye Processing Technique worth D1.9m is geared towards food safety requirements and to obtain superior and consistent quality and safe products, with good value for money, throughout the year.
Speaking at the occasion, James Gomez, the minister of Fisheries and Water Resources said Gunjur Community Fisheries Centre is one of the biggest and most important fish landing sites, adding that the landing site serves the length and breadth of this country with fresh, smoked and dried fish products.
“The community of Gunjur has benefitted and continues to benefit in many of government’s interventions by way of providing infrastructure and facilities for the development of the community fisheries centre,” he acknowledged.
Mr. Gomez said that the fish smoking oven has the potential to contribute to reduction in post-harvest losses as well as improve the quality of the smoked products produced in the artisanal fisheries.
For her part Dr. Perpetua Katepa Kalala said, according to FAO statistics, Fisheries and Aquaculture are a major sector for food security and nutrition with global production of fish, crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic animals continuing to grow and reaching 170.9 million tonnes in 2016.
Dr. Kalala added that in The Gambia, although fishing is predominantly the role of men in The Gambia, women have a central and crucial role in the fisheries sector of The Gambia.
She pointed out that in the artisanal fisheries sector, women occupy the post-harvest sector by forming the link between fish captured and consumption.
Also speaking on the occasion, Bakary Sanyang, governor, West Coast Region said that the new oven will bring employment to the community and will improve the standard of fish processed in Gunjur.
He advised the community to use the smoking house accordingly, adding that government has opened all the gates of opportunity to the people to work in an appropriate atmosphere.
He further stated that the new smoking house would improve their health since the house will not be filled with smoke that will be harmful to their health.
Mrs. Fatou Jatta one of the beneficiaries of the fish oven thanked the government and FAO for implementing the project for the community of Kombo South assuring that the oven will be used accordingly.