Utilization of Low Cost Technology: A Catalyst for Reducing Postharvest Fish Losses in Lagos State, Nigeria (Published)
The need for the development of fish preservation and processing machinery and techniques for effective fish handling, harvesting, processing and storage can never be over-emphasized especially now that aquaculture production is on the increase in Nigeria. With Low Cost Technology (LCT), and better processing practices, fresh fish can be processed as desired without any significant loss of its quality. Hence, this study assessed utilization of low cost technology: a catalyst for reducing postharvest fish losses in Lagos State, Nigeria. Multi-stage sampling technique was used to select 353 fish processors as sample size for this study. Data obtained were analyzed with both descriptive and inferential statistics. Result of the study showed that majority (63.7%) of the respondents were between 31 – 50 years of age, predominantly female (93.8%), married (70.3%), had formal education (77.9%) and belonged to Fish Processors Association (74.2%). The average household size and experience in fish processing were 7 people and 19.2 years respectively. Estimated income from processed fish ranged from ₦20,000 – 40,000/week. Result also revealed that extended drum oven (90.9%) was predominant and often used by the respondents. However, red clay oven (58.6%), brick kiln (52.4%) and government model kiln (41.1%) are available but not used by the respondents. Respondents got training and capacity building on fish processing technique and preservation (83.0%), hazard prevention and safety training (79.0%), record keeping (71.4%) and quality fish sourcing (67.7%) mainly through their Fish Processors Association. Furthermore, major challenges undermining fish processing and utilization of LCT are lack of fund from the commercial banks (80.3%), poor road network (79.0%), lack of training by extension personnel (74.2%) and epileptic power supply (77.9%). In addition, result of chi-square indicated that significant relationship existed between socio-economic characteristics of the respondents and utilization of low cost technology (χ2 = 12.91, p < 0.05). Fish Processors Association (χ2 = 16.05, p < 0.05). Training and capacity building have significant association with utilization of low cost technology (χ2 = 13.79, p < 0.05). Constraints impeded the utilization of LCT and was positively significant (t = 2.87, p = 0.004). The study concluded that despite the advantages of LCT in reducing PHL and increasing income from processed fish it was not utilized by the respondents in the study area. It was therefore recommended that there should be more awareness and enlightenment on merits of LCT by the extension officers, fish experts and media to facilitate its adoption and utilization among fish processors in the study area.