Fields of Gold by adb Powering Ghana’s Fishing Industry

Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) has been at the forefront of enhancing fish production in the country by providing support to players in the aquaculture sector and those engaged in the more traditional forms of marine and inland fishing.

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The Ghanaian fishing sector plays an important role contributing significantly to national economic development objectives related to employment, livelihood support, poverty reduction, food security, foreign exchange earnings and resource sustainability.

Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) has been at the forefront of enhancing fish production in the country by providing support to players in the aquaculture sector and those engaged in the more traditional forms of marine and inland fishing.

Farmers engaged in aquaculture have been supported to acquire/construct capital assets such as cages, ponds, cold storage facilities, nursery and laboratories, hatcheries, etc. Operators in the aquaculture sub-sector have also been advanced working capital facilities mostly to purchase feed, feed ingredients and meet other working capital needs.

ADB over the years has supported fishers engaged in marine and inland fishing by providing opportunities to acquire outboard motors, nets and other fishing gear.

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Support has also been given over the years to businesses engaged in fish inventory and cold storage to provide ready market for the output of fishers and fish farmers.

Players such as Tropo Farms Limited, Crystal Lake, Archid Investments, Efah Plantations, Tema Newtown Canoe Fishermen Association and a host of fisherman across the country have received support from the bank at one time or the other.

ADB in 2010 financed Raanan Fish Feed West Africa Ltd to establish the first extruded floating fish feed processing facility in the country to provide high quality fish feed for fish farmers in the country and the West African sub-region.

adb has invested about GHS47.0 million in the fish value chain in the form of loans, overdrafts and letters of credit and would continue to increase its investment in view of the importance of the sector to the economy of Ghana and its potential to alleviate poverty, improve food security and enhance foreign exchange earnings.

The fishing sector generates more than GH¢1 billion in revenue annually, and accounts for about 4.5 per cent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Fish is a preferred source of animal protein in Ghana, and about 75 percent of the total domestic production of fish is consumed locally. Fish is expected to contribute about 60 percent of animal protein intake.

The per capita consumption is estimated to be about 25 kg per annum. Over 2 million fishermen, processors and traders participate in this sector. These and their dependents amount to about 10% of the Ghanaian population.

The fishing industry in Ghana is based on resources from the marine, inland (freshwater) and aquaculture sub-sectors. The marine fishing industry in Ghana is dominated by artisanal fishing using canoes. The Volta Lake, reservoirs and coastal lagoons are the main sources of inland (freshwater) fish.

Depletion of the country’s fish stock due among others to large-scale poaching by foreign vessels has made the case for aquaculture even stronger. The first attempt at fish farming in Ghana started when fishponds were built in 1953 by the then Department of Fisheries in the northern part of Ghana. These served as hatcheries to support the culture-based reservoir fishery development programme of the colonial administration and as a way of supplementing the national demand for fish and increasing livelihood opportunities. Thus fishing skills were taught in communities living near small reservoirs, which were not traditionally used for fishing.

Following Ghana’s independence in 1957, the then government of Ghana adopted a policy to develop fishponds within all irrigation schemes in the country. State-owned irrigation facilities were to be developed, as far as it was technically possible, under a policy of converting five percent of the scheme into fish farms.

From 1990s the technology of fingerling production improved tremendously to form the basis of expansion in the aquaculture sub-sector. Fingerlings have been produced from concrete tanks and hapas in addition to earthen ponds, as was the practice in the previous years. Although fish seed is still being obtained from the rivers and reservoirs in the remote areas, private commercial entities produce fingerlings of tilapia far in excess of their requirements and sell the surplus to other fish farmers.

All-male tilapia culture is widespread and is produced from earthen ponds and cage culture on the Volta Lake. Tilapia is the major species farmed and constitutes over 80 percent of aquaculture production. The catfishes (Clarias sp., Heterobranchus sp.) and Heterotis niloticus account for the remaining 20 percent

The bank has taken due regard of the emerging concept of Integrated Agriculture-Aquaculture (IAA) and would partner farmers, entrepreneurs and researchers to explore this potential since it is resource and ecologically efficient and at the same time economically beneficial to farmers.

 

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