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FAO TO THE RESCUE OF WOMEN PROCESSING FISH PRODUCTS

The women processors of fish products in Dionewar have just benefited from a large-capacity artisanal oven that will make their activities much more profitable. Thanks to FAO, they will get rid of floor smoking to better adapt to international standards.

It is the water that surrounds their land. Dionewar is an island area that is part of the Saloum Islands. Here, the women do not stand idly by in the face of the immensity of the potential offered by the sea. The ladies of Dionewar, like those of the other surrounding islands, are active in the processing of fishery products. “The sea makes us work. You saw these dams, we installed them there (about forty meters from the coast). These are niches that we have created to recover certain seafood products that we are going to transform”, informs us, Ndèye Seynabou Sarr.

The 50-year-old is a fish processor like these many ladies, grouped in a federation of around ten groups. They came, this Thursday, May 19, 2022, to attend the inauguration of the Four FTT from which they have just benefited thanks to the Fao. These women processors from Dionewar and those from S. Vicente/Maio (Cabo Verde) benefited, under the initiative of FAO, from training by women processors from Locodjro (Côte d’Ivoire) on the smoking of fish with ovens FTT. These traditional ovens, with a capacity of 20 tons of product per month, allow women to move away from smoking fish on the ground for a more suitable smoking of small pelagics (ethmalosa/sardinella).

This new practice will allow women to make their processing activities more profitable. “I would like to emphasize the role of women in food and nutrition security in Africa. These women take a lot of risks in terms of their health and their very low income. They make a lot of sacrifices. This action allows women to process the fish. And as you know, the processing adds value and it allows them to improve their income,” said the FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator for West Africa, Dr. Robert Gouantoueu Guei. According to him, women were exposed to enormous health risks by smoking. “The women’s smoking conditions were difficult. They are exposed to carbon dioxide and heat, which are silent killers, while women do not realize that they are ruining their health. The oven allows them to solve this problem definitively,” he said.

Adapt to international standards

In Dionewar, fish processing is the main activity of women. Fishing remains the main economic sector since the creation of the village. At the time, the sea was full of fish and the fishermen did not need to go too far to fill their canoes to the great benefit of the women. With the overabundance, explains Djibril Sarr, Municipal Councilor at the town hall, all the production was not used by the populations of Dionewar. The rest was transported to Djiffer for transport to other localities in the country.

As part of the FAO Coastal Fisheries Initiative, this oven, funded to the tune of 50 million CFA francs, women processors will discover new processing practices adapted to international standards. “These ladies from the Saloum Islands are examples in the processing of fish products. The oven will allow them to work in much better shape, firstly for their health, by avoiding anything that smokes. But above all to settle the questions of healthiness and hygiene. You have seen, it is built with the forward march system which takes care of quality and hygiene for all that is food. We have gone through the installation of the platform. We didn’t see a single insect. We did not smell any smoke which can affect health,” noted the Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Economy, Alioune Ndoye. Who promises to multiply the example on a national scale on all processing sites.

The feeling is the same with Mother Mariama. She is responsible for sales of the new FTT oven platform. It was this lady, in her sixties, who had gone to Côte d’Ivoire for training in the use of the oven.

With the ban on floor smoking, Mother Mariama believes that the oven has come in its time. “We are really happy with this oven. When I discovered it in Côte d’Ivoire, I told our manager that we necessarily needed these ovens in Senegal. We had to boil the fish. And we didn’t have the best quality on our products. Mesh gives the best quality. That’s why these ovens are welcome,” she rejoices. With this new deal, she hopes that their turnover will increase. “The quality aspect is very important. Often Senegalese women complain that they cannot export their products. This is often due to a lack of quality in our products. With the oven, the quality of smoking is guaranteed”, informs Mother Mariama. According to her, nearly 300 women, belonging to several groups, of the same federation, will work at the level of the platform which is built on an area of ​​approximately 400 square meters.

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