In Africa, fish is often a cheap and accessible animal-source food and thus important for many poor and marginalized women, men, and youth, but methods of processing fish in Nigeria remain limited to traditional salting, sun drying, and smoking methods. These methods expose fish to pests, insects, microorganisms, sand, and dirt. Smoked fish faces an additional health hazard of accumulation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons due to high wood-burning temperatures. Although processing fish is an important method of reducing postharvest loss, traditional methods can lead to a multitude of food safety issues that put consumers at risk. In addition, the nutrient content of fish is altered as a result of heat, exposure to sunlight, and fermentation processes. Understanding how traditional processing methods impact nutritional losses and gains can help policymakers in prioritizing investments and interventions to ensure the safety of these important food products.
This project will take place in Delta State, Nigeria, over two years. WorldFish, Mississippi State University, and University of Calabar will work together to achieve three objectives:
- Develop cost-per-nutrient guides by analyzing the nutrient and contaminant profile of select processed fish products and their respective prices in comparison to other animal-source foods
- Build capacity among women and youth fish processors to produce high-quality, safe, and nutritious processed fish products for local consumption
- Educate women and youth fish processors about the benefit of fish in human diets and develop a low-literacy tool to help them better market their product.
By accomplishing these objectives, we will improve food and nutrition security within the Delta State and therefore improve human outcomes in Nigeria.