keywords: Socio-economic status, fish, processing methods, fish processors, River Taraba
A survey on socio-economic status, types of fish processed and methods of fish processing adopted by fish processors along River Taraba was conducted for the period of eighteen (18) months from November 2017 – April 2019. Data collected through structured questionnaire are collated and analyzed using simple descriptive statistics of frequency and percentages. Both men 13 (38.2%) and women 21(61.8%) were involved in fish processing business in River Taraba. The largest group fell within the age brackets 31-40 years, 17 (50.0%). Majority of fish processors (64.7%) were married while 35.3% are single. The highest western educational level was 14(41.2%) who had first school leaving certificate. The largest household sizes were 6 – 11 (44.1%) people in a family. Highest years of experience were 11-15 years (35.3%). Fish processors that were non-members of cooperative were the highest (58.8%) than cooperative members (41.2%). Fish processors engaged in farming were the highest (41.2%). Highest Source of capital for fish processing business was from personal saving (47.1%). Species of fish processed was Clarias gariepinus 8 (23.5%), Bagrus spp, Auchenoglanis occidentalis and Hydrocynus spp 5 (14.7%) each. Citharinus citharinus and Tilapia spp had 4(11.8%) each while Lates niloticus had least 3(8.8%). Smoking method accounts for 45.19% of the fish processing methods. 65.67% of fish processors used baskets for packaging fish. 44.4% of fish processors processed 30 kg of fish with ₦21,000 -₦50,000 capital base. Income earned per fish processing was highest among ₦6,000-₦9,000 (44.1%). Majority of fish processors in River Taraba belong to Jukun and Jibawa (17.6%) ethnic group each followed by Chento, Wurbawa and Tiv with 14.7% each, followed by Lakka with 11.8% and the least was Doro with 8.8%. It is recommended that fish processors should enroll in cooperatives like Fadama (World Health Project) that can assist them with cold storage facilities and soft loans. Government should provide electricity to the rural communities to enable them preserve fish for further processing.