Government has made funding available for the implementation of Aquaculture for Food and Jobs (AFJ) – a complementary initiative of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, which aims to boost the aquaculture industry.
The programme is a three year initiative which is expected to begin this year to 2021 and would be spearheaded by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development.
Under this programme, individuals who wish to take advantage will be provided the required inputs such as fingerlings, fish and training in order to enable them establish their respective farms.
During the 2019 State of the Nation Address by President Akufo-Addo, he reiterated government support and commitment in given priority to youth entrepreneurs, distressed farmers, second cycle and public institutions to set and operate fish farms across the country.
“The project will be implemented for three years in collaboration with Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) and the School Feeding Programme. It is expected to create 7,000 jobs and add an extra 33,628 metric tonnes of fish to domestic fish production”, he stressed.
Last year, the Ministry started collaborated with identifiable institutions and stakeholders interested in undertaking fish farming to boost the country’s demand for fish.
Currently, Ghana imports over 60 percent of its fish. The 2016 figures indicated that more than US$135 million worth of fish were imported because of the reduction in the country’s fish stock. It is estimated that Ghanaians consume over 950,000 metric tons of fish annually.
Planting for Food and Jobs
Currently, statistics from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture indicate that over 600,000 farmers have been registered under the programme.
The Planting for Food and Jobs was an initiative introduced to increase yields and get more of the youths to get employed in the sector.
It is anchored on five strategic pillars which aime at increasing productivity of food crops, ensure food security, raw materials for industry, reduce food import and increase export.
As at second quarter 2017, government has disbursed GH¢365.60 million out of a total of Gh¢700 million, representing 52 percent, towards the implementation of the various components of the programme.
By Dundas Whigham