Effects of Socio-economic Conditions of Small-scale Traders of Postharvest Tilapia Quality and Safety in Kisumu, Kenya
Otieno, Elizabeth Ockeyo
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Fish quality and safety are important in socio-economic development and are critical in nutritional requirements. However, constraints limit accessibility of the trade to both domestic and export markets. There has been difficulty in addressing these problems as little development support targets small-scale trade and environmental threats like fish contamination and pollution still remain a challenge. The objectives of this study were to determine the socio-economic conditions of the fish traders, to investigate hygiene practices in handling, storage and processing of fish and to isolate and identify human pathogens in both fresh and processed fish in the markets. A descriptive design was employed in this study, which described the socio-economic characteristics of the small-scale traders. The study was carried out in Kisumu town amongst 156 small-scale traders who were selected using random sampling method. A total of 30 respective samples were randomly selected from these traders in each of the 10 markets for microbiological analysis. Data collection instruments used were questionnaires, interview guides and observation checklists. Description statistics were used to analyse objectives one and two. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to compare mean plate count values of fresh and processed fish and this established a significance difference between the two with a value of 0.44. ANOVA also tested the total coliform counts which showed a significant difference in the means of TCC of fresh and processed fish samples with a Pvalue of 0.30 (P-value>T statistics of 5.245). T-test revealed that mean bacterial counts (APC) differed significantly from the standard value of 1Obcfu/g ((Pvalue>T statistics of 2.644). Statistical tests revealed strong relationship in education levels, average amount of money spent and income per day of traders and their fish handling practices. The APC and TCC results showed that fresh fish had higher bacterial counts than processed. The study results revealed that small-scale trade needs to be targeted with sound development, effective and supportive policies so that it can not only improve livelihoods by providing employment, but also contribute towards foreign exchange earnings. The traders also need to be empowered economically in order to improve their trade. There is need to educate the traders on good handling practices during the trade so as to improve quality and safety of fish and to avoid contamination of their products. The information generated from this study is useful for educating the traders. Further research should be done on human pathogens that course contamination.
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