Tarkwa (W/R), Dec. 03, GNA – Ghana is collaborating with Norway to ramp up the development of on-farm fish feed using locally available feed ingredient resources.
Mrs. Mavis Hawa Koomson, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, who announced this said the country had viable sources of fish feed ingredients, therefore, the partnership would make a great difference in national aquaculture output.
The country’s new Aquaculture Development Plan envisages to increase the country’s fish farming output from the current 89,376 tonnes to 211,697 tonnes by the end of 2028 – an increase of 136 percent.
Mrs. Koomson, speaking at awards’ ceremony to climax the commemoration of the 39th National Farmers’ Day Celebration, at Tarkwa, Western Region, said the vision was the ensure the availability of high quality feed to all fish farmers at affordable cost.
The steps being undertaken by the authorities are expected to assist in reducing the cost of producing cultured fish, thereby increasing the profit margin for fish farmers.
Whilst locally produced and imported feeds are easily available on the market, most small pond farmers find them expensive, and try to avoid this problem by using self-formulated feeds.
The Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Minister said the implementation of the ministerial directive on specifications for trawl gear was currently yielding positive results.
This has reduced the catching of juvenile fish and small pelagic fish by industrial trawlers and subsequently prevented transhipment of same at sea between the trawlers and canoes.
Mrs. Koomson said to sustain the per capita consumption of fish, the government had positioned aquaculture as one of its top priorities.
The idea was to address the deficit in the country’s fish requirements to ensure the availability of fish for current and future generations, the Minister noted.
Marine development experts say fish stocks in Ghana are in serious decline, while local demand for fish has outstripped supply due to a combination of factors, led by over-fishing.
To tackle overcapacity of fleet and reduce fishing pressure on the fisheries resources, the government had instituted a moratorium on new entrants for canoes for a period of three years.
This would be reviewed annually during the period, Mrs. Koomson explained.
She said the country was on the path to finding innovative and sustainable solutions that addressed the prevailing challenges in the fisheries and aquaculture sector head-on.
She cited the construction of the National Aquaculture Centre and Commercial Farms to provide skills training in various aspects of aquaculture.
The scope of training encompasses production, farm management, fish health, feed formulation, and processing for the youth to take up aquaculture as a viable enterprise.
Additionally, the Ministry had introduced tarpaulin tanks for fish farming, and also introduced re-circulatory aquaculture system.
The technology has low water usage, energy efficient and easy to harvest fish.
Vice President Bawumia in his address, outlined the government’s programmes and policies aimed at achieving food security in the country.
Charity Akortia, a 57-year-old teacher from Agona West in the Central Region, emerged as the 2023 National Best Farmer, and was given one million Ghana Cedis cash prize.
Other awardees are Kwesi Mensah, National Best Fisher, Grace Tsali, National Best Fish Processor, Godfred Dadson, National Best Aquaculture Farmer, John Osabutey, National Best Inland Fisher, Charlotte Ndah, National Best Fisheries Extension Officer, and Adwoa Sintim, National Best Cocoa Farmer.
Edith Weatland emerged as the National Best Female Farmer, Augustine Asubonteng, National Best Livestock Farmer, Kwame Boafo, National Best Coffee Farmer, and George Opoku, National Best Promising Young Cocoa Farmer.
A total of 16 farmers were awarded at the programme, which was held on the theme, “Delivering Smart Solutions for Food Security and Resilience”.
The award winners were honoured with cash prizes, plaques, tractors, sprayers and trucks.
The National Farmers’ Day was instituted by the Government in 1985 in recognition of the vital role farmers and fishermen play in the Ghanaian economy.
Stephen Asante/James Amoh Jnr