Dr. M.M. Prasad interacting with participants
ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, Kochi, in collaboration with Department of Fisheries, Government of Meghalaya, Shillong and Office of Deputy Commissioner, West Jaintia Hills District, Govt. of Meghalaya organized a one day Demonstration program on “Smoke Curing of Fish by Hygienic and Scientific Methods Using COFISKI” at Umladhkur, Amlarem Sub Division, West Jaintia Hills District Meghalaya on 19th November, 2016. The program was organized by Dr. M.M. Prasad, HOD, MFB and Dr. K.K. Asha, Senior Scientist with technical assistance of V.N. Sreejit and P. Suresh. The participants included fishers of both Umladhkur and Thangbuli villages. The program benefited a total of 64 women fishers. The officials of DRDA Jowai also participated in the program. A small cemented platform was also erected for the purpose of air drying of the fish before and after smoke curing. Dr. Prasad demonstrated smoke curing of fish from beginning to the end that include hygiene aspects in handling the post harvest fish. The present COFISKI (Community Fish Smoking Kiln) model is completely mobile that could be relocated to any place and the trays that are employed for smoke curing of fish are made up of 304 food grade steel. Employment of this steel is useful for safety of fish. The importance of application of spraying neam, citronella and lemon grass oils with water in controlling the blow fly infestation were apprised to the participants. The advantage is these are botanical products and will not have any side effects and harbor any kind of contaminants. Another important aspect the fishers told is that the neam oil with water need to be sprayed only in surroundings and not coming in contact with fish. Shri Arun Kumar Kembhavi, IAS, Deputy Commissioner of West Jaintia Hills District of Meghalaya was the Chief Guest of the programme. He evinced keen interest in learning complete details of smoke curing of fish and benefits of employing COFISKI. The smoke curing of fish was carried in three batches. The most noted development of ICAR-CIFT intervention is that Smt. Alma, an active woman fisher of Umladhkur village started making fish pickles based on her training by ICAR-CIFT and started selling the product resulting in generating sustainable income. Marketing avenues for the products at Jowai, Shillong and Guwahati were told to the fishers for sustainable income generation.