CSIR-FRI invites SMEs for fish products commercial

fish processors arranging fish on oven trays for smoking
fish processors arranging fish on oven trays for smoking

Professor Charles Tortoe, the Acting Director, Food Research Institute (FRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has called on small and medium-sized enterprises within the fish value-chain to adopt its products for commercialisation.

He explained that those within the food and fish sector could consult the FRI, adopt some of its newly developed food products for production and commercialization.

The products were fish nuggets, fish floats, fish base cereal mix, koobi (dry salted fish) in olive/palm/coconut oil, tofu, and tofu sausage.

Others were soya bean sausage, soya bean noodles, moringa noodles, moringa base cereal mix, mushroom noodles, mushroom in vinegar, mushroom in tomato sauce, mushroom and dry herrings soup base powder, turkey berry soup base, tomato ketchup, bambara in tomato ketchup, bambara in syrup, bambara base cereal mix, bambara soup base thickener, bambara and tiger nut pudding, and bambara and brown rice pudding.

Prof. Tortoe made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at a “Multi-Stakeholder Workshop and Technical Working Session Programme” organised by FRI in Accra, to unveil a fish processing compliance facility and discuss food products developed by the FRI.

The FRI at the Workshop also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the “Feed the Future Ghana Fisheries Recovery Activity” to implement  the initiative.

Stakeholders also shared ideas to generate best practices that fish value-chain actors could use to process good, healthy, and high-quality fish for consumption, sale, and export.

They included the Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana Standards Authority, Fisheries Commission, University of Ghana, National Fish Processors and Traders Association, Development Action Association, and Tema Metropolitan Assembly.

The study was coordinated by Finland’s Natural Resources Institute, under the “HealthyFoodAfrica” EU Horizon 2020 project in Ghana with other African and European partners to promote and improve Africa’s nutrition by enhancing the diversity, sustainability, resilience, and connectivity of fish food systems.

Prof. Tortoe said: “We want to add value to Indigenous and underutilised food/fish products. So, we are looking for stakeholders like SMEs who will be interested in any of the 45 fish and food products to pick one or two and start commercial production with our support.”

Mrs Amy Atter, a Senior Research Scientist, FRI, and Co-Principal Investigator of the HealthyFoodAfrica project at CSIR and “work package 6” leader with other project partners, conducted a trends analysis using Ghana and Kenya as a case study on co-analysis of current trends, identification of opportunities in food products, processes, and agri-business models.

She said the report showed that in the two countries, food systems were changing due to modernisation and demand for processed foods was increasing, in addition to the increasing length of supply chains leading to many challenges where local producers now had to adapt to the trend.

Mrs Atter said several studies such as sensory, nutritional profile, safety and quality, shelf life, raw material sources, serving size, packaging material/description, and sustainability assessment would be conducted on selected products.

These products would be certified by the Food and Drugs Authority for potential up-takers to be sustained on the Ghanaian market and for export.

Dr Seth Agyakwah, the Project Principal Investigator, speaking on the challenges in the fish production and processing sector, said less diversity in fish production and fish products to different nutritional requirements, and unhealthy and unappealing food consultation were big challenges.

Others that needed attention and consideration were inadequate innovative ideas and technology to develop new healthy and safer fish food products from Indigenous and local under-utilized fish products.

This when tackled would help to meet the nutritional demands of cosmopolitan city dwellers and growing urban areas.

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