On Thursday, June 8, 2023, at Amrahia, in the Greater Accra region, the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, officially opened the state-of-the-art National Aquaculture Centre and Commercial Farms, which cost $12 million to build.
The important initiative comes after the President’s commissioning of the 86 million euro Elmina Fishing Harbour last week, which, in the President’s words, strengthens the government’s resolve and commitment to the expansion of the fisheries and aquaculture industry.
Around 3 million people are employed in Ghana’s fisheries and aquaculture sub-sector, which accounts for 20% of the country’s workforce across the whole value chain. This sector also provides 60% of the country’s protein needs and accounts for 11% of GDP from agriculture.
With the country earning some 254 Million USD from the export of fish and fish products, fast depleting marine stock due to significant threats in the form of pollution, biodiversity loss, ocean dumping, over fishing and other maritime threats including over-exploitation, illegal unreported and unregulated fishing, piracy and trafficking, has a severely negative toll on food security prospects, critical infrastructure and the entire marine eco-system.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the government recognized the potential of the aquaculture subsector in 2019 and granted approval and cut the sod in September 2021 for the implementation of the Greenhouse Aquaculture Technology system to help increase domestic fish production, to increase expertise in aquaculture, and to create jobs for the youth. This was done to address the challenge of diminishing catches from the sea and increasing demand for fish.
The goal of the center, which will complement the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development’s program on Aquaculture for Food and Jobs, is to produce quality food products through the training of the local population as fish farmers, with a focus on graduates from our universities. This represents a significant boost to the government’s resolve to create employment.
He noted that, “as water bodies dry up and become polluted due to human activities, and as the pressure on land acquisition increases, modernisation of Acquaculture must involve the utilisation of less space and water, but increase productivity at the same time.”
“One such modern technology that has these attributes, is the Re-circulating Aquaculture System (RAS), which is being employed by the centre I am commissioning today. Not only does this system offer minimum maintenance cost, and relatively low to moderate energy consumption, it also guarantees the production of healthy and export-ready products. It will thus ensure the production of some 25 metric tonnes of tilapia, 25 metric tonnes of catfish, and 4 metric tonnes of prawns annually. This will ultimately mean an increase in fish production, a reduction in fish imports, and the enrichment of local capacity and technical knowhow through the training of youth at the centre,” he explained.
In order for the center to accomplish its goals of training contemporary fish farmers and producing fish in large enough quantities to support the center and increase national fish production overall, President Akufo-Addo urged cautious handling of the facility.
The President thanked the chiefs and residents of Amrahia and Amanfrom on behalf of all Ghanaians for their assistance and cooperation during the project’s construction and urged the student trainees to persevere and contribute to the growth of the potentially lucrative industry.
Hon. Hawa Koomson, the industrious sector minister, stated that the ministry has created a fresh Ghana National Aquaculture Development Plan, which when put into action will increase production from 89,376 metric tonnes in 2021 to 211,697 metric tonnes by the end of 2027.