By Saikou Suwareh Jabai
The price of smoked fish hikes as a result of the low catch of fresh fish due to the prevailing unfavorable weather conditions at sea.
This situation has raised concerns among consumers as smoked fish is a crucial component in the daily diet of many Gambian dishes. Many favourite traditional dishes contain smoked fish. There is also the economic dimension in terms of affordability as the smoked fish ‘Bonga’ is cheaper compared to the fresh one, although smoked ‘cat fish’ is relatively more expensive.
Visiting the fish selling point at Tanji on Sunday 5th June 2016, this reporter was informed that the price for three pieces of smoked fish is D10 while the container which takes two basins costs between D900 and D950, depending on the price bargaining.
Faburama Ceesay, a fishmonger who is said to be in the trade for over ten years, said the business is by no means an easy one.
When asked why the price of smoked fish is high, he replied that it is largely due to the limited supply of fresh fish. He said they usually buy a basin of fresh fish at D450 as well as spend on firewood which is expensive.
“Some people use empty cartons which they burn to smoke their fish, for me I use firewood instead, which is although more expensive but safer for the consumer,” said Mr. Ceesay.
He further explained the difficulties one has to go through in the preparation and smoking processes which, he said, often requires one to stand under the hot sun for the whole day in order to ensure that everything is done well and that the fish is not burnt in the oven.
“For those of us who are engaged in this fish smoking business we know how tedious the work is. We do make profits sometimes but this unlike before when most of the things were cheaper with profits being made in selling smoked fish,” revealed Mr. Ceesay.