The demand for animal proteins in Ghana and specifically for Tilapia is very high. To realise opportunities, a number of bottlenecks have to be solved, relating to feed, fingerlings and knowledge.
Due to a lack of knowledge and experience, the existing hatcheries cannot meet the market demands in terms of quantity and quality of tilapia fingerlings. LEI and IMARES, both part of Wageningen UR in the Netherlands assessed the feasibility of the formation and set-up of Public Private Partnerships (PPS) for aquaculture in Ghana.
There is only one major local feed manufacture. Imported feed is approximately 30% more expensive, which means that there is not enough affordable feed of a reasonable quality. Also, the required licensing procedures for cage farming in Lake Volta is bureaucratic and can take up to one or two years.
Another issue at hand is that there is an opportunity in using the Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT) which has indications of about 50% faster growth than the local Akosombo strain of Tilapia. Because the environmental risk assessments to cultivate this type of tilapia has not been completed yet, the government cannot decide about the introduction of GIFT. For now, only the Akosombo strain can be cultivated legally.
Thierry van Helden, First Secretary at the Netherlands Embassy in Ghana commented on this study: “I think there is definitely an opportunity to invest in a local production plant for fish feed because there are only one or two plants that produce fish feed.” He was positive an investment in establishing local feed mills would bring down feed prices. Among the other recommendations the Embassy is making is the concentration on fish processing locally as well as fingerling production to meet market demands. The Netherlands Embassy is trying to lure investors from its country to explore the opportunities in Ghana’s aquaculture sector.