Kete Krachi Timber Recovery, the Ghanaian-owned firm undertaking the salvage of timber from the Volta Lake has been engaged by Tropo Farms, the largest aquaculture operator in sub-Saharan Africa to clear stumps from their acreage of the Lake at Anyaase, in the Asuogyaman District of the Eastern Region.
Tropo Farms desires the removal of the stumps to enable it to expand its cage area for fish farming, in response to significant increases in demand for its Volta Catch brand of tilapia, as the Ghana market responds to health concerns about fish by migrating to a trusted brand. Anyaase, like many other sites in Volta Lake, has significant potential for aquaculture, but the presence of tree stumps block placement of cages for fish-rearing.
The clearance operation starts with the detection of the submerged stumps by sonar, and the stumps are then cut by hydraulic chainsaw and lifted out of the water using KKTRs unique timber salvage system, barge-mounted modified Caterpillar excavators called SHARCs, which can cut and lift a tree in under three minutes.
Expansion of aquaculture in Lake Volta could make a significant contribution to Ghana’s economy by eventually ending Ghana’s need to import 600,000 tonnes of fish annually at an estimated cost of 1.5 Billion US Dollars in foreign exchange. This need to import to augment local fish production is being exacerbated by dramatic declines in fish stocks caused by rampant illegal fishing methods such as bamboo trapping, which the Fisheries Ministry is striving to stamp out.
The ongoing stump clearance at Anyaase is being carried out by Ghana’s first trained SHARC Operator, David Keteowu of KKTR, who made history last Sunday by cutting his first stump on the Lake. Until David Keteowu’s feat last Sunday, the SHARC equipment had been operated in the country solely by Canadians.
As part of its Community Engagement and Corporate Social Responsibility, KKTR has partnered with Tropo Farms and the National Inland Canoe Fishermens Council to pioneer an aquaculture skills transfer program for local fishermen to support Lake Volta’s critical transition from wild catch to aquaculture in order to boost local fish production.