Aquaculture Development Plan For Fish Production To Be Launched In Ghana

The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Nayon Bilijo says government will very soon launch a five-year National Aquaculture Development Plan for the systematic and pragmatic inland fish production. The blue print aims at propelling Ghana to produce 100 thousand metric tons of fish not only to make the country self-sufficient and exporter of the commodity, but save the economy the huge sums of expenditure on the importation of fish for local consumption. Mr. Bilijo made this known at the inauguration of the Raanan Fish Farming Training School at Tano-Odumase in the Sekyere South district of Ashanti. The Raanan Fish Farming Training School started in November last year as the first of its kind in West Africa. It is a collaboration between an Israeli and a Ghanaian investor. The School provides both theory and practical management skills to inland fish farmers at absolute no cost to the farmers who are mainly from Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions. According to Mr. Bilijo, the new government has set up the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development with the aim of bridging the huge gap between the local fish consumption requirement and supply. The Minister disclosed that Ghana could produce for local consumption, only 27 thousand 450 metric tons of fish by the end of last year, as against the requirement of 800 thousand metric tons. Ghana, he noted, is rated among the top 10 countries globally with very high fish consumption but with very low production capacity. Therefore, the five-year Aquaculture Development Plan is to harness and utilize the fish production potential of the nation for the nation not only to become self-sufficient in that area, but for export of the commodity. Mr. Bilijo appealed to the Israeli Ambassador to Ghana to support the Ministry to develop the Training School into an ultra-modern Aquaculture Training Centre not only for the training of small scale fish farmers and Extension Officers, but also to serve the research and practical training needs of student soft h Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, as well as vocational training in aquaculture of fish farm managers. The Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Sharon Bar-Li said the School is a showcase of the long standing working relations between her country and Ghana. The Ambassador urged the government of Ghana to ratify the Aquaculture Agreement signed between her predecessor and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in September 2009 to enable Israel to provide its technical expertise for the development of the aquaculture sub-sector of the local economy. Ms. Bar-Li noted that the Training school will also help to alleviate abject poverty and reduce unemployment in the country. The Ashanti Regional Director of Fisheries, Francis Harry Kwablah Akunnor said Ashanti region is naturally endowed with the potential for inland fishing, especially its topography and water table. According to him, Ashanti currently has about 545 fish farmers cultivating more than one thousand fish ponds. The Raanan Fish Farming Training School has since November last, trained 117 small scale fish farmers from Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Eastern and Northern regions. They are provided with skills ranging from land identification, pond construction, stocking, management, harvesting to marketing with the view to making them business oriented.