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17.09.2005 Regional News

Hire purchase scheme for fishers launched

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Accra, Sept. 17, GNA - The Ministry has secured a Spanish grant to establish cold stores, blast freezers and ice making plants for 12 communities throughout the country, Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister of Fisheries, said on Friday.

The communities were selected based on the volume of their daily catch in the past three years, Mrs Asmah said when she launched the "Work and Pay tools" scheme for fishers in Accra. She said Axim, Elmina, Moree, Mumford and James Town were classified as Category A while New Takoradi, Shama, Winneba, Komenda, Senya Bereku, Gomoa Nyanyano and Teshie were classified as Category B. Mrs Asmah noted that if fisheries resources were well managed there was the likelihood of sustained increase for the present and the future. The objective of the scheme is to try and re-capitalise the industry by making it possible for fishers to obtain credit facilities for fishing gear, including outboard motors.

The modernisation process, she said, would not move as fast as scheduled due to financial constraints but would surely be completed. Four modern landing sites constructed, each of them with blast freezing facilities, ice and cold stores. The process would be a rolling one until all target areas are covered. Mrs Asmah said in order to manage the resources properly plans were at various stages of gazetting the Monitoring Control and Surveillance (MCS) to ensure compliance with the measures that comes out of the regulations. The Fisheries Minister, however, noted that the challenges were enormous but with determination and hard work a breakthrough was inevitable.

She said another scheme that had been planned to complement the scheme was the refurbishment of old canoes with fibreglass and encouragement of fishers to acquire modern fishing canoes. The first phase of the scheme, the minister said, had already taken off and a total of about 200 Yamaha outboard motors at a unit price of 23 million cedis had been purchased. She said 100 had been distributed to fishers who requested for them through rural banks. Beneficiaries would pay an initial amount of five million and the rest in instalments within 12 months. The interest of 10 per cent goes to the distributing funds to offset operational cost. Mr Alfred Y. Tetebo, Director Of Fisheries, said past schemes failed because fishers took loans and did not pay back. He therefore urged fishers to adhere to the agreement with the financial institutions.

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