Smoked catfish export accounts for huge foreign exchange earnings for potential exporters of the produce. Many countries have leveraged on the huge potential and earnings made through smoked fish export.
The major fish exported from African countries like Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria are catfish, and Tilapia. Catfish is very good as smoked or dries fish when exported.
Market for smoked fish
African immigrants constitute the major market for smoked fish in the world. They crave the delicacy and are eager to pay premium price for the fish.
The smoked fish is used by private individuals, in African restaurants and menu. Major buyers can be found in across Europe and America and virtual many major cities in the world.
The amount of smoked fish exports in 2014 had a retail value of 25 million dollars and the demand today keeps rising. Ten percent of the entire smoked fish export is from Nigeria.
The figure would have been higher but poor documentation, processing, packaging and handling has resulted in unapproved products.
Stricter regulations in Europe and America on the export of smoked fish products have registered a decline in the commodity.
Exporting smoked fish to Europe
The fish farmer interested in exporting smoked fish to Europe needs to comply with strict rules and regulations concerning the product. Failure to comply could result in a loss in revenue due to rejected product at the ports after inspection.
There reason such countries have tough regulations is to protect the biodiversity of plant and animal life in the region from foreign contaminates and organisms.
There is a twenty kilogram export limit by most European countries which is a very small amount allotted to exporters of the product. The size can easily fit into a bag and transported by air to the destination.
The capital required to transport the smoked fish is greatly reduced because of the European policy. The small amount has some advantages which include learning what works and small capital investment.
Exporting smoked fish to America
America is a major buyer of smoked fish and exporters smile all the way to the bank. You can export smoked catfish in large quantities to the United States of America.
They allow containers of the product once the exporter complies with their laws. The major regulatory body that requires registration from the exporter is the US Food Drug Administration.
US Food Drug Administration
The United States Food Drug Administration works like NAFDAC in Nigeria. There oversight functions concerning smoked fish exports require the exporter to have a certificate of registry.
The certification covers production site inspection, packaging, processing and storage. You need to hire a food safety expert for advisory purposes and to procure the necessary certification.
Smoked fish exporters need to get the necessary paper work before they can export their goods to America. Another way to keep abreast of export rules is to register with an export trade promotion agency.
To avoid seizure of goods you must comply with all the export rules and regulations.
Reasons why exported smoked fish are seized
There are many reasons smoked fish billed for export get seized include some of the following
1 Exporters process the smoked fish using bad smoking techniques
2 Some exporters use the wrong wood and charcoal during the smoking process
3 They are seized during inspection they detect traces of polycyclic hydrocarbons in the fish
4 Other dangerous contaminants found in the smoked fish
5 Insect infestation due to poor drying techniques and growth of mould
6 Some reasons include improper labeling and documentation
How to find buyer for your smoked catfish
African restaurants and some grocery stores are good places to start when sourcing a market for your product. Individual buyers make up sixty five percent of the purchasing group. Most exporters sell at retail prices and make maximum profit for their smoked fish.
Export promotion organization help smoked fish exporters with important information on market trends, documentation and buyers. Another way is to join local trade groups that deal with smoked fish export.
Online resources are beneficial to the smoked fish exporter and they can use them to get new clients. Advertise o paid or free classified websites to attract foreign buyers.
Start a website dedicated to smoke fish export to get new clients.
Thing to consider when processing smoked fish
1 The smoking method is very important
2 Control the smoke temperature
3 The type of wood used for smoking the fish
4 The oil content of the fish
5 Moulds and moisture content
6 Exportation requirements
7 Packaging and labeling
8 Proper documentation and inspection.