[TAGDev Story] Promotion of Safe, Nutritious, and Ecofriendly Smoked Fish Technology in Benin

The cultural transition from a French-speaking country to an Anglophone country did not deter Mahoussi Simone Assocle, a TAGDev/RUFORUM beneficiary traveling from Contour, Benin. Mahoussi, a passionate food scientist and nutritionist with four years of experience in nutrition, processing, and quality control of food products, is the founder of “Benin AgroTrans,” an innovative social enterprise that produces delicious and safe smoked fish while adhering to the principles of green economy. She promotes the use of renewable energy equipment, biodegradable packaging, andnatural preservative (spices) through this technology.

Mahoussi was inspired to find an eco-friendly solution after witnessing her mother’s numerous customer complaints resulting from the use of traditional smoking fish technology specifically the use of wood. Given that fish is a staple food in Benin, the need to improve its quality and shelf life compelled her to pursue her research further. Fish conservation remains a common issue in tropical regions due to a lack of adequate infrastructure, technology, and environmental and climatic conditions that contribute to spoilage. The traditional wood smoking method is primarily used in the country for fish preservation. This technique, however, gives the smoked fish a two-day shelf life. The fish which is not packed is vulnerable to a variety of hazards, lowering the quality of the product and increasing food insecurity.

Furthermore, poor microbial quality, poor hygiene, and the use of wood, which emits a lot of smoke on the fish, leave some cancerogenic residues, affecting the health of fish processors and the environment. It also shortens the product’s shelf life and makes it unsafe for human consumption. Benin AgroTrans improves the technology of smoked fish processing in Benin and using appropriate corrective measures to provide Beninese with safe and nutritious fish products.

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