News 255 views last update:7 Aug 2012

Ghana good ground for aquaculture

Studies over the last two years have proven beyond all doubt that aquaculture in Ghana can be a viable economic and rewarding venture because all the natural factors, especially water and good soil are available in abundance, according to Mrs. Gladys Asmah, Minister for Fisheries.

Asmah told this to around 200 participants who attended the Aquaculture Investors Forum in Accra that deliberated on the government's aim of promoting aquaculture as a business venture. It attracted participants from the Association of Ghana Industries, Banking and Financial Institutions, fish farmers, animal feed producers, importers and exporters and policy makers at all levels.

Lack of commitment
Asmah said the promotion of aquaculture in the past failed because people lacked commitment, treated it as a hobby instead of a business and lacked technical expertise. This was mainly caused by unclear institutional policies and allocations of responsibilities, weak aquaculture institutions, poor networking among aquaculture institutions and poorly defined skilled staff. "Also, lack of complete understanding of scientific aquaculture, the abundant marine and inland fishing at the time did not give the needed impetus to pursue aquaculture as a viable enterprise, hence the poor performance of the industry at the time," Asamh said.

Move forward
The Fisheries Minister said government was giving all interested parties the opportunity to retrace their steps and move forward in making aquaculture the business for the next decade. "The ministry's target for aquaculture production in the next five years is to produce up to 50% of local consumption which stands at about 400,000 metric tonnes.
"To achieve this target, there is the need to step up efforts, to inject major factors such as financial and technical support in the aquaculture enterprise," Asmah said.
She therefore suggested to set up an Aquaculture Support Funds by the banks to support aquaculture development said globally aquaculture was one of the world's fastest growing food production sectors.

Help from FAO
According to Mr Joh Moehl, Regional Aquaculture Officer, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) aquaculture is a high potential sector in Ghana. Moehl noted that the aquaculture only has a change through direct investment by the private sector, be it in micro, small, medium or large enterprises. He however, cautioned the new investors against seeing the industry as a quick road to riches.
Moehl pledged that FAO would remain a staunch partner with the Ministry of Fisheries in promoting the new wave of profitable aqua-businesses and would be ready to offer all possible assistance within its means.

Related links:
Ghana Ministry of Fisheries

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