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16.12.2003 General News

Fibreglass Technology For Canoes

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Accra, Dec 16, GNA - Major Courage Quashigah (rtd), Minister of Foodand Agriculture (MOFA), has advised fishermen to take advantage of fibreglass technology to ensure prolonged lifespan of their fishing boats for cost effective operations.

He said the Ministry would begin a training programme next year for the youth living around the coastal areas to rehabilitate wooden canoes by using the fibreglass technology.

He said there are about 9,000 wooden boats along the beaches and the Ministry would provide raw materials to rehabilitate them. Mr Quashigah was commissioning in Accra, a rehabilitated 20-foot wooden canoe using fibreglass technology.

He said the trainees would be sent back to their communities to carry out regular maintenance on their canoes.

He said the promotion of the technology was an attempt by the Ministry to discourage the indiscriminate felling of trees for the construction of canoes and to provide employment for the youth.

The Agriculture Minister said the Ministry had supervised the rehabilitation of a number of wooden boats adding, "lets us look back to our tradition to improve upon our traditional ecological knowledge". He encouraged the youth to go into research to develop ideas that could bring about development.

Maj. Quashigah said one-eighth of the country's forest reserve was being destroyed, adding that we have done a lot of damage to the forest, we have lost our animal and bird species and this was causing a lot of climatic changes."

He said the technology was exhibited at the just ended AGRIFEX 2003 and the 19th Farmers Day celebration in Accra and Cape Coast respectively, adding that patronage was very great.

Mr Robert Wood, Managing Director of FATECO Company Limited, the company that rehabilitated the canoes said a rehabilitated and restored canoe cost four million cedis with 50 years lifespan whilst the wooden canoe lasts for 18 years.

He said with the technology air pockets were created at the ends of the canoes, which prevented it from sinking.

The boats are also leak proof and this enhances floatation. The minimum cost of a normal wooden canoe was between eight to ten million cedis and 35 million cedis as maximum cost.

Mr Amon Tanoe Emmanuel, Ambassador of Cote D' Ivoire was present to witness how the technology was applied so that he could introduce it in his country and assisted Major Quashigah to cut the tape to commission the boat.

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