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27.01.2006 Regional News

Govt urged to establish extension services for aquaculture

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Accra, Jan 27, GNA - An Aquaculture consultant from Israel on Friday entreated the Ministry of Fisheries to establish an extension service in the area of aquaculture to help to boost Ghana's production in that area.

He said Ghana had the potential to expand and improve on its aquaculture production but was constrained in technological know-how, which could be effectively provided by extension service officers. Mr Yitzhak Simon, Aquaculture Division, Extension Services of the Ministry of Agriculture of Israel, said the main problem with aquaculture in Ghana was the poor quality of feed.

He said this at a de-briefing stakeholders meeting in Accra, on the outcome of feasibility studies on Ghana's aquaculture development potential during his five-day duty tour at the invitation of the Government.

Mr Simon said in aquaculture, fishes were supposed to be provided with demand feeding just like breastfeeding babies and not to be put on strict schedules.

"If you want high production of fish per year, in line with high quality fish, you need good quality feed, because fishes eat very little at a time and they eat only when they are hungry."

Mr Simon said the water quality for aquaculture was also essential for the survival of the fish, adding that the water quality should be tested on a regular basis and oxygen injected whenever the ammonia concentration went up.

Praising Ghana for establishing a Ministry of Fisheries, he urged the Ministry to consistently monitor fishermen's activities, plan pilot projects and take up joint ventures with them.

He advocated that Ghana continued with its tilapia production in the way that the country was familiar with, saying, "it is better to do what you know best than copying form other countries, where climatic and other conditions are different.

"Don't try to copy us, because our terrain is different from yours. Israel has very limited water while Ghana has a lot of water and the hybrids are likely to be different," he said. Mrs Gladys Asmah, the Sector Minister, commended Israel for agreeing to share its expertise with Ghana, saying Israel had the technology while Ghana had the natural resource for an effective partnership to begin.

She said Ghana was ready to grab this investment since 10 per cent of her land area was covered by water. Mrs Asmah pledged the Ministry's preparedness to send two research officers to Israel to learn more about other fish species aside tilapia that could be cultivated in Ghana.

"We want to be an exporter of fish and no more a fish importer. I am, therefore, challenging fish importers to go into the aquaculture business and see if their profits would not be better in exporting than in importing," she said. 27 Jan. 06