NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

NCF: Reduction of greenhouse gases and deforestation related to food processing in sub-Sahara Africa [NDF C62 B 9]

Photo: Kari Hämekoski
Photo: Kari Hämekoski
The project has introduced improved fish smoking and drying units to combat deforestation and improve food security

Reduction of greenhouse gases and deforestation related to food processing in sub-Sahara Africa
Ref: NDF C62 B 9

Nordic Partner: Matis
Local Partner: Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI)
Other Partners: United Nations University – Fisheries Training Programme (UNU-FTP)
Total Project Cost: EUR 681,665
NCF Financing: EUR 488,903
Agreement Signed: 7 November 2014
Project Classification: Mitigation/Adaptation
Duration: 39 Months

Project Objective

The objective of the project was to reduce deforestation, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and support local livelihoods through value addition, food safety and food security by introducing improved smoking and drying techniques for fish.


The project has installed 100 fish smoking/drying units in 21 locations along the Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania with the aim of assisting the local communities to reduce the use of firewood and to increase food security through improving the nutritional value of smoked fish. At the same time the project has contributed to the private sector development in the project area through enhanced profitability of the local fish smoking businesses and improved labour skills. Furthermore, training activities in selected fishing communities on fish handling, quality processing and consumer adaption and acceptance of the improved products and processing methods has increased the project’s sustainability.

The project has delivered the following main outputs:

i) Design and construction of a prototype of an up scaled fish smoking/drying unit that will reduce the amount of firewood up to 80%
ii) Training of 40 persons in building and maintenance of the smoking/drying equipment; operating a small scale carpentry; handling and quality assurance of raw material; packaging, distribution and marketing
iii) Construction of 100 smoking/drying units in 21 selected areas.

Relevance for Climate Change

Reducing deforestation and improving energy efficiency are some of the top priorities in the 2010 National Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan of Tanzania. Fish smoking in Tanzania is mainly conducted under open fire utilizing around 425,000 m2 of firewood annually and thus aggravating deforestation in Tanzania. By introducing improved smoking/drying units, the project has reduced 2,000 tonnes of CO2 during the project due to the reduced amount of firewood required for the smoking of fish. During the expected lifetime of 10 years for the kilns, total emission reductions may reach 190,000 tCO2. Adaptation impacts of the project are equally important. Food security has been identified as a top priority in the Tanzania National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA). Due to the lack of appropriate processing and refrigeration facilities for the fish the main processing methods are smoking and drying. The handling and processing procedures used by the target communities prior to the project resulted in up to 60% post-harvest losses of the catch. The key adaptation impact of the project is food security which is obtained through more efficient and hygienic processing of the fish that preserves the valuable fish proteins. The new smoking technique also reduces respiratory illnesses of the fish producers through reduction or even elimination of smoke contamination during processing. In addition the quality of fish has improved as it does not contain carcinogenic Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) as compared to the fish smoked on open fire. The new technique improves thus health and well-being of the larger communities.

Innovation and Knowledge Transfer

The technique introduced in the project is based on smoking and drying of fish in an integrated unit. The unit uses around 80% less firewood than the traditional open fire smoking methods for fish. The process based on closed cabin reduces respiratory problems usually encountered when smoking fish on open fire. Furthermore, this method will lead to reduced food waste and improved quality and safety of the final product. The new technique has been tested in UNU-FTP short courses in Tanzania and Kenya with positive results and it was considered a unique solution in fish smoking by the participants in these courses.

More information

Final Report