August 15-17, Zhemgang: Smoked fish, one of the oldest forms of preserved food is enjoying new popularity in Zhemgang as the special ingredients are added to increase deliciousness. Smoking fish in Berti was started in 2015 as a trial in traditional way to preserve the surplus harvest of Roudong fish pond with technical support from the Regional Livestock Development Centre (RLDC) Zhemgang and Dzongkhag Livestock Sector (DLS).
While marketing for product, cured fish with smoking has won the consumer taste and there are plentiful demand from the hoteliers and individuals. So to meet demand and inspire farmers in fish farming, DLS supported the construction of smoke house with mechanised smoking chamber for Berti Fishery Community (BFC) to smoke fish in large scale.
To help farmers sustain the smoke fish processing independently, three days hands-on training on brining, curing and packaging were held in Berti. It was organised with fund support from DLS and RLDC-Zhemgang.
According to the Post Production Officer, the taste and smokiness depends on type of fish and woods used to smoke it. He added that Berti smoked fish have unique burnt aroma of vinegar due to gradual smouldering with additives which is different from other types of smoked fish. It will be the choice for Bhutanese.
During the training to promote market, 148kgs of fresh fish were processed and two types of smoke fish (pond fish and capture fish) were produced by BFC. They will be available in market after formal launching on August 18.
‘With the improved method of smoking fresh fish and timely hands on training, the alternative means of income generation for BFC members will be enhanced’, said the Dzongkhag Livestock Officer. With introduction of improved processing equipment, time spends on processing and packaging will be far better than before. The Sector is planning to go for larger production to reach Berti smoke fish in everyone’s kitchen.
Dr Pema Wangchuk, Veterinary Officer, Zhemgang
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