This is one of the sweetest stories on value addition of the agribusiness value chain.From fish comes a snack.

Do you have a sweet tooth? Here’s you chance.

University graduate banks on fish cookies to create jobs

BY BOZO JENJE

Dressed in a white shirt, black trouser and a matching apron, Francis Thoya joins two chefs at a kitchen in a restaurant in Kilifi County

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The cocktail

Soon, the two start rolling some dough as he watches keenly, interjecting our conversation with some explanations.

This is cassava flour blended with fish powder, which we use to make cookies,” says Thoya. “The cassava and fish must be dried well and then milled to end up with very fine flour,” he adds.

The Pwani University sociology graduate makes what he calls “samaki cookies” that he is working to perfect before he starts selling

Before venturing into making the cookies, the entrepreneur was selling dry pieces of shark But he found the business limiting due to supply constraints from fishermen.

I thought of making porridge blended with fish powder, but the fish smell was hard to eliminate making it harder for children to consumer it,” he explains. An idea of making cookies from fish and cassava that is grown widely in Kilifi hit him.

Before starting the value addition start up, he had a problem with the fish species suitable for the cookies, but chefs Peter Kaingu and Larry Mwenda based at Generali Foods Restaurant in Kilifi helped him settle on baracuda.

Benefits

According to Kaingu, baracuda is a tasty seafood, nutritious with vitamin B2, omega 3 and has a lot of flesh because it can grow to about two metres and weighs up to 50 kilos.

“We had to come up with a recipe that ensures we grind even the bones and use them as the entire fish is nutritious” To produce the cookies, raw fish is dried in an oven at a regulated

temperature. It is then removed, sliced and ground into powder using a mincer. The powder is then mixed with dried cassava flour in a ratio determined by the chefs. Then the dough is mixed with sugar and rosemary herbs. The cassava dough is cut into small round or star-shaped cookies that are baked for 10 to 15 minutes. Once ready, they are packaged in plastic containers. “Our target market is children, expectant mothers in hospitals and diabetic patients.

Support

Recently, with support from Plan International Kenya, Thoya launched the product at the Karisa Maitha grounds and the reception by the consumers was great.

“We also made some 300 pieces that were tasted at a conference for nutritionists organised by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and we received good reviews on the cookies,” he says, noting he is banking on the product to create jobs.

Dr Hemedi Saha Mkuzi, the Pwani University Registrar of Research and Extension, says the cookies made from cassava and fish will help address the challenge of malnutrition among children when widely adopted

De Miuzi says the university will carry out food analysis on the product before partnering with the student

station@kenationmedia.com

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