Empowering Fisherwomen with FAO-Thiaroye Technology

Fisherwomen in Papua New Guinea can now benefit from an innovative fish processing technology to efficiently smoke and market their fish.

The novel “FAO-Thiaroye Technology” (FTT) is being introduced and demonstrated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) under the EU-funded STREIT Programme in the Country, starting from the Greater Sepik.

Fishing communities in Papua New Guinea face unique challenges, such as limited market access and a low electrification rate. Traditional fish drying methods are hindered by high humidity, unfavorable weather conditions, and a lack of resources and knowledge. The traditional open-fire smoking technique used in the country is inefficient, time-consuming, and poses health risks.

The FTT technology enables fisherwomen to diversify their products, extend fish shelf-life, and increase the competitiveness of their fish products. This innovation reduces fuel usage by 50 percent, improving working conditions and reducing health risks associated with smoked fish preparation. It also cuts down processing time, reducing the workload for women fish processors.

The FAO, in collaboration with the EU-STREIT PNG Programme, has established a pilot FTT processing facility with the Karawambo Women's Business Group in the East Sepik Province. The women have received extensive training on product quality, safety, stock management, finance, and marketing. The aim is to empower these communities to adopt sustainable techniques and grow their businesses.

Cecilia Ambrose, Chairlady of the Karawambo Women's Business Group, expressed enthusiasm about the project, emphasizing the positive impact on household income and nutrition. The EU-STREIT PNG Programme aims to reduce income uncertainty, diversify income streams, and maximize the potential of fish catch. The goal is to disseminate this technology to other fishing communities and explore new business opportunities.

The FAO plans to extend the initiative to Angoram fishing communities in the Mighty Sepik River area, where another FTT site is currently under construction. The EU-STREIT PNG Programme, implemented as a UN Joint Programme, focuses on sustainable and inclusive economic development in rural areas. It aims to improve the lives of people in East and West Sepik provinces through enhanced economic opportunities and support for agri-food value chains.

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