Andrew Parker, UN Online Volunteering Service, Cameroon April 17, 2007
I am looking for some help in adapting Dr. Winiarski's wood-fired food dehydrator for fish smoking.
My name is Andrew Parker. I live near Salt Lake City, Utah. I am an online volunteer with the United Nations' Online Volunteering Service working with Nabuur.com. I am currently assigned as Project Facilitator for a fisheries development project with the community of Efut Inwang,
on the Bakassi peninsula, now part of Cameroon. (Many of the residents have relocated to fishing camps and villages across the river in Akpabuyo LGA, Nigeria so technically we have morphed into a refugee project.)
We determined that a good place to begin was to introduce an improved fish smoker. After much research we settled on the Chorkor smoker as the best design. Now that we are nearly finished with our demonstration project, it has become obvious that the Chorkor design is not economical to build in the coastal mangrove physiography of the Bakassi region. There have been similar complications in introducing the Chorkor to the coastal mangrove fishing villages in South East Cameroon (I stumbled onto that report too late).
The first thing that came to mind when I was researching an improved smoker was Dr. Winiarski's wood-fired food dehydrator, but I dismissed the possibility as too costly. With a budget now exceeding $7,000 for a smoking hut and ovens (yes, I thought that perhaps they were building it out of marble and gold leaf, but I suspect it is probably more that we are getting the rich foreigner price – all westerners are rich, right? – and the transport cost is a killer), I am compelled to revisit the option of a Rocket fired smoker.
One of the other attractions of the wood-fired food dehydrator design is that it could probably be built to be lightweight and portable by boat or cart. This may make the design more attractive to the fish mongers as they could move from landing beach to landing beach based on seasonal availability and then park it in a secure location when not in use. (Vandalism is reported to have been a problem with government built ovens in the past, when they were actually built, to the extent that there are no more government built ovens in the area.)
So, is there anyone among you who would be interested in helping me with this? For you adventurous types, if you want to do field work, the Oban Hills (Nigeria) - Korup Forest (Cameroon) World Heritage Site is just a few miles upriver (the Akwayafe) from Bakassi.