Although aquaculture farmers welcome the government’s Aquaculture for Food & Jobs programme modeled on the Planting for Food & Jobs programme which some credit for a bountiful harvest this season, Kwame Safo with the Fish Farmers Association warns if the issues of inadequate vaccines and high import duty on feed is not addressed, the scheme risks failure.
Fish pond farmers say fish fed prices constitute over 70 percent of the production cost in fish farming, urging government to help setup mini-mills to produce fish feed in selected production zones.
Meanwhile Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Elizabeth Naa Afoley Quaye has stated that just as the Planting for Food and Job scheme has enabled the country to be food sufficient in at least maize for this season, the fishers can expect positive impact in their lives with the Aquaculture for Food & Jobs programme.
However mass deaths of pond tilapia on the Volta Lake raises concern of outbreak of diseases which can derail the scheme as the tentative cause for the deaths have yet to be identified. There’s call for farm operators to also stop cutting corners and follow standard protocol.
Ghana consumes over 950,000 metric tons of fish annually but imports over 60 percent of its fish, and in 2016, imported US$135 million worth of fish because of the reduction in the country’s fish stock.
The programme for the fishers is to arrest the country’s depleting fish stock, ensuring adequate fish supply all year round in addition to creating employment in coastal communities.
By: Michael Eli Dokosi/goldstreetbusiness.com