The Ghana National Aquaculture Development Plan (GNADP) has been launched, as the country’s first blueprint to guide the sustainable development of the aquaculture value chain.
The country’s fish demand for 2012 was estimated at 968,000 metric tons while the country’s fish production for that year was 486,000 metric tons, representing about 50.2 per cent of requirement.
Dr. Emmanuel Anokye Frimpong, who is involved in the training of Ghanaian fish farmers under the USAID Aquaculture and Fisheries Collaborative Research Support Program, notes that the practicality of aquaculture must be understood if it is benefit people as a business.
“Aquaculture is a hands-on activity; it is also a business that involves doing”, he explained, adding that some people struggle in the business “primarily because it is difficult for them to just get their feet wet and their hands dirty”.
With the new intervention, aquaculture production is expected to increase by 360 percent from the current 27,750 metric tons to 130,000 metric tons while generating an estimated 220, 000 jobs across the value chain.
The capacity of aquaculture associations to improve the knowledge, skills and management capabilities of indigenous fish farmers will be prioritized, according to Nayon Bilijo, Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development.
To achieve this, Dr. Anokye Frimpong believes access to information on new developments in fish farming via radio, television and mobile phones would empower fish farmers to maximize opportunities in the sector.
In 2012, Ghana’s Water Research Institute (WTI), in partnership with WorldFish, came out with the ‘Akosombo’ strain of Nile Tilapia, which grows three times faster than non-improved tilapia.
The improved variety is to increase aquaculture productivity and food security in West Africa.
For local consumption, an increase in productivity can result in greater availability of fish in the market, reducing the price of the product and making it more accessible to poor consumers.