At Tsokomey, a coastal community in the Greater Accra Region, women are combating poverty by equipping themselves in oyster farming.
Mangrove oyster are predominantly harvested in this community and is an important source of protein.
Francisca Dickson Arhin of GHOne, tells a story of how an indigene of the Tsokomey community, Bernice Beble, an oyster picker has been able to support her family through this business venture.
Oyster is known as one of the world’s healthiest foods and is eaten in all continents of the world.
Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties make it most desirable by those who are careful about their cholesterol intake.
It is classified as a marine creature and is easy to come by especially in coastal areas and the riverside.
Countries like Greece, Philippines, China, Japan, Thailand, Caribbean countries and South American Countries have taken to oyster farming in large scales due to the immense economic benefit it provides.
In Ghana however, the county’s Oyster stocks have significantly dropped owing to an increasing number of harvesters.
Women in the community, have survived the odds by resorting to oyster farming to combat unemployment and poverty.
Bernice Beble is an oyster picker, and she said, since venturing into oyster picking, she has been able to contribute financially towards the upkeep of her family.
Her husband, Francis Agbeshie, also an oyster picker confirms, Bernice has indeed alleviated the financial burden the family once experienced.
Through the U.S. government’s feed the Future Initiative, management innovations are being introduced by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Sustainable Fisheries Management Project for the people of Tsokomey.
So far, 150 fisher folks have been trained on oyster biology, ecology and the importance of water-quality and mangrove habitats to the health of the fishery.
Although oyster pickers admit the venture is an immense source of financial freedom, it does come with a myriad of challenges.
Supporting these female oyster farmers with additional equipment and financing means that they can work in deeper waters, which enables a quicker growth of quality oysters for local consumption and export.
Programs manager for Development Action Association, Abraham Asare, is optimistic about the future of the initiative, and the benefit it will bring to the people of Tsokomey.
In signing the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 2030, governments around the world committed to ending poverty; Goal 1 of the SDGs.
Many stakeholders believe by doing this, Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality.
Perhaps, it is long overdue for stakeholders to focus on the development of aquaculture in order to reap from the economic benefits oyster farming provides just as other countries have done.
By Francisca Dickson Arhin