Ghana and Norway are partnering to increase the development of on-farm fish feed using locally available feed ingredient resources. Ghana’s new Aquaculture Development Plan envisions increasing the country’s fish farming output from 89,376 tonnes to 211,697 tonnes by the end of 2028, a 136 per cent increase.
Mrs. Mavis Hawa Koomson, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, stated at an awards ceremony to end the 39th National Farmers’ Day Celebration in Tarkwa, Western Region, that the vision was to ensure the availability of high-quality feed to all fish farmers at an affordable cost.
She said the country abounds in viable sources of fish feed ingredients; therefore, the partnership with Norway would make a significant difference in national aquaculture output.
Mrs. Koomson, speaking at an awards’ ceremony to climax the commemoration of the 39th National Farmers’ Day Celebration, at Tarkwa, Western Region, said the vision was to ensure the availability of high-quality feed to all fish farmers at affordable cost.
The steps being taken by the authorities are anticipated to go a long way to reduce the cost of producing cultured fish, thus enhancing the profit margin for fish farmers.
While locally produced and imported feeds are widely available on the market, most small pond farmers find them expensive and avoid the problem by using self-formulated feeds.
The Minister said the ministerial directive on trawl gear specifications was yielding positive results.
This has reduced the catching of juvenile and small pelagic fish by industrial trawlers and the transshipment of such species at sea between trawlers and canoes.
Ms. Koomson said the government made aquaculture a top priority to sustain per capita fish consumption.
She said the goal was to address the deficit in the country’s fish requirements to ensure the availability of fish for current and future generations.
According to marine development experts, Ghana’s fish populations are in serious decline, and local demand for fish has outstripped supply due to a combination of factors, including overfishing.
To address fleet overcapacity and reduce fishing pressure on fisheries resources, the government instituted a three-year moratorium on new canoe entrants.
This would be reviewed annually during the period.
Ms. Koomson said the country was developing innovative and sustainable solutions to the challenges in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, citing the construction of the National Aquaculture Centre and Commercial Farms to provide aquaculture skill training.
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.
Also, the Ministry has introduced tarpaulin tanks for fish farming and re-circulatory aquaculture system.
The technology has low water usage, energy efficient and easy to harvest fish.
Vice-President Alhaji Dr. Bawumia gave an address at the awards ceremony on behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, outlined the government’s programmes and policies aimed at ensuring food security in the country.
Charity Akortia, a 57-year-old teacher from Agona West in the Central Region was named the 2023 National Best Farmer. She was given a 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.