27% Of Fish Farms Abandoned - Minister
Research conducted by the Department of Fisheries has revealed that about 27% of the total areas of fish farms constructed have been abandoned and about 20% of fish farmers had abandoned their vocation.
This was disclosed by the Minister for Fisheries, Mrs. Gladys Asmah, at a national forum held in Accra where she called on individual entrepreneurs, local and foreign investors to identify aquaculture as a potential business venture to invest in, since that was the only way to revitalize the sector.
Mrs. Asmah who spoke on the theme: "Aquaculture as a Business Venture" said fish farming had been on the decline over the years due to several economic factors that were not identified by governments and business entrepreneurs.
The minister was of the view that inadequate supply of fish seed and sometimes the quality of fish seed provided for the farmers to start with wasn't the best to have a good harvest from.
Again, she noted that limited financial support extension to the farmers, especially credit and marketing facilities had immensely retarded the progress of farmers.
She however urged participants on the need to consider factors such as unclear institutional policies and allocation of responsibility, which aggravated the problem, adding that formulation of weak aquaculture institutions, poor networking and unsuccessful definition of stakeholders' role was what did not help.
The minister advised participants to take advantage of efficiencies related with aquaculture, to determine the type, sizes, quantity and quality of the fish one wants to raise and harvest.
She raised concern over the incomplete understanding of the value of aquaculture by people and urged practitioners, who have been motivated in a way, to help change that negative trend of thinking.
Mrs. Asmah announced her ministry's preparedness to formulate flexible strategies that would define the roles of both government and the private sector in aquaculture development in the country.
She said Ghana government spends over $200 million each year to import fish to supplement local production and called on the private sector to help boost fish production in the country, stressing that, ordinary fish does not serve only as a cheap source of protein compared to meat but when fish is produced in abundance, it would make it cheaper and affordable to the rural folk and in a larger sense, help promote their health too.