The Chorkor Smoker

In 1979, in Ghana, Africa, the Chorkor Smoker, an improved fish smoker, was designed by the Food Research Institute with the assistance of the FAO and the women in the village of Chorkor. The Chorkor Smoker has since been successfully introduced in many other regions of Africa, including Ghana (1980s), Benin (1982) and Guinea (1983), financed by UNIFEM and executed by the FAO.

The improved Chorkor Smoker features a "closed banda" design that supports multiple trays for fish smoking. The Chorkor Smoker is similar enough to the open banda design that it integrates well into the traditions and expectations of the fish smoking communities, and still introduces simple yet significant improvements, including:

  • Decreased fuel wood consumption by more than 80% by increasing fuel efficiency
  • Circulated smoke inside the smoker, so no smoke in the eyes and far less smoke escaping into the air
  • Low construction cost.
  • Long-life; up to 15 years when made with cement block
  • Large capacity. Up to 18 kg of fish per tray; as many as 15 trays per oven
  • Higher quality an uniformity of smoked fish due to greater retention of heat and circulation of smoke
  • Much less time and effort required for operation

These two manuals offer detailed instruction in the construction and use of the Chorkor Smoker:

Practical Guide to Improved Fish Smoking in West Africa
Bill Brownell
This manual was prepared in conjunction with a UNICEF Fish Smoking Extension Project of the National Council on Women and Development assisted by the Food Research Institute, carried out in coastal Ghana (Greater Accra, Ada and Keta) from June 1983 through January 1984. It is based on improved fish smoking technology developed by FAO, the Food Research Institute and the women of Chorkor, Ghana in 1969-71.

A Practical Guide to the Construction and Introduction of the Chorkor Smoker
J. Zinsou and W. Wentholt
Like the Brownell document listed above, this document details the construction of the Chorkor Smoker and also goes into more detail about how to effectively introduce the smoker into a community. This document shows how to build a tray that can be carried by a single person, whereas the Brownell document shows how to build a longer tray that must be carried by two people.

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Contact Us: Last updated: August 2006
This manual was obtained from the FAO library in Rome, Italy.