Anchovies, known in Ewe as ‘aborbi’, are very nutritious and are mostly enjoyed by by coastal belt dwellers. Residents along the coastal belt are familiar with the fish, which is eaten after smoking, frying or drying.
However, the drying of anchovies is done under very unhygienic conditions because they are spread out on dirty ground or pavements and also the fishmongers use brooms to gather them.
This method of preserving anchovies makes eating the fish very unpalatable as they are always full of grains of sand.
Areas where this method of drying anchovies on dirty pavements and later swept with standing brooms include; Tema Manhean, Prampram, Old Ningo, Apklabanya, Angloga and Keta.
Drying the anchovies in the sand or pavements sometimes results in dogs, goats and fowls feeding on them, which makes the fish dangerous for human consumption. Also, there are instances where pedestrians walk on some of the dried fish.
In their fresh state, anchovies attract a lot of houseflies, which carry germs. Houseflies are deadly as they often release worms on foods they settle on.
To make matters worse, at Tema Manhean and Old Ningo, for example, the fish is dried close to stinking drains and the Health and Environmental Directorates of the various assemblies of these areas cannot say they are oblivious to this unhygienic method of drying anchovies.
In this global age of technological advancement, can’t the assemblies invest in a modern method of helping fishmongers along the coast to dry their anchovies so that for once, eating dried anchovies would not be like eating grains of sand?
Is it a wonder that most coastal dwellers are eating a lot of contaminated fish, caught through unhygienic methods and poor preservative ways?
Today, consumers battle with polluted water as a result of galamsey, polluted air as a result of continuous carbon fumes from rickety vehicles and smoke from industries, food crops produced from farms, to fish caught from the sea and preserved for consumption which are all unhealthy.
People put in authority to ensure that things are done right must wake up to the call to save consumers, because we are eating too much toxic food.
Anchovies are a great part of our diet and the earlier our Health and Environmental Directorates at the various assemblies go out to educate our fishmongers on the hygienic ways of drying them, the better for all those who enjoy eating the fish.