Today marks the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste. With only nine years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including Zero Hunger, now is the time to identify and address problems that stall progress in our food systems. Up to 17% of global food production is wasted each year—and much of that waste is preventable. There is simply no room for food loss and waste in our current food systems. The agriculture sector must focus on improved storage, production, and processing techniques if we are to accomplish the global goals.

Since 2018, the second phase of the Communal Approach to the Agricultural Market in Benin (ACMA2) project has been working with producers and processors to improve the nutritional security of rural populations in Benin. To boost local agricultural productivity among producers and processors, ACMA2 is reducing produce loss by assisting in the establishment of proper storage facilities and providing training on improved processing methods.

Fish in hands

Gbagla-Ganfan’s Fish Smoking Center

Launched in 2016 by the Gbenonkpo Women’s Group, the Gbagla-Ganfan Fish Smoking Center is currently supported by ACMA2. Before the center was built, it often took 48-72 hours to smoke 2.5 metric tons (mt) of catfish. Now that the smoking center has adopted more efficient methods, entrepreneurs can do the job in a quarter of the time and much more safely. The new FTT-Thiaroye oven prevents fish processors from being exposed to extremely high temperatures, smoke, fire, or bad weather during the smoking process. The oven enables the producers and processors to smoke a large volume of fish to meet market demand in both quality and quantity—impossible using outdated smoking kilns and barrels.

Adjarra Fish Center

The Adjarra Fish Center includes a storage warehouse, two modern FTT-Thiaroye furnaces for fish smoking, reinforced concrete fishponds, and a sales counter. The center was created to address the lack of infrastructure and commercial equipment for smoking, aggregating, and marketing fish in the Adjarra Municipality. It has revolutionized fish farming in the area and serves to improve business relationships between fish farmers and processors. To ensure that fish are available continually, women fishmongers do business with fish farmer groups in the community.

FTT-Thiaroye furnaces

Smoking fish in these FTT-Thiaroye furnaces protects processors from exposure to fire and smoke. In addition, products smoked using this technology are hygienic and do not contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Using these furnaces, the centers can smoke 2.5 mt of catfish in 8 hours, as compared to kiln or barrel smoking, which could take 48-72 hours. Access to this technology has improved women’s marketplace competitiveness and ensures nutritional safety for consumers. 

The ACMA2 fish centers reduce waste in several ways: they prevent spoilage by using proper storage, extend shelf life through modern processing techniques, and facilitate business relationships to ensure an adequate supply of fish.

Find out more about how you can prevent food loss from FAO.