The traditional shape of fish-smoking pits was round. Although advisors considered that shape less efficient than a square, some cooperatives continued to follow tradition. - - Improving Techniques in Fish-Processing Cooperatives. Fish have always been an important element in the Benin diet. Yet national fish production has fallen by 30% over the last ten years although the country's population grows by 2.8% annually. In the past decade too, the consumption of local fish products declined by half, increasing reliance on imports. To reverse this trend, and work toward food self-sufficiency, the Benin Government set up 30 fish processing cooperatives in 1980. In Benin, women do the processing and marketing of the fish caught by their men. FAO has been working with these women, training them in improved production and distribution techniques. Some of these women's cooperatives have also branched out into other activities, such as selling general groceries or processing and selling coconuts and palm oil.