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Friday, January 11, 2013

AquaFish targets women to grow Ghana’s aquaculture

The Aquaculture and Fisheries Collaborative Research Support Program (AquaFish CRSP) is empowering Ghanaian women to consolidate their role in the business of fish farming.

The aquaculture industry is dominated by men but Dr. Emmanuel Anokye Frimpong, Lead Investigator with the program, says women can turn around the fortunes of the sector.

The Program has therefore reached out to about 80 women in Kumasi and Akosombo with training in commercial fish farming and retailing.

“We recognize that women play a very important role in aquaculture; their part of most of these businesses is either working in partnership with their husbands as owners of farms, in which case they perform all the business activities of the farm; or they are at the processing end of the business”, stated Dr. Anokye Frimpong.

Ghana’s fishing industry is predominately based on resources from the marine, freshwater and coastal lagoons.

These fishing avenues are however losing grounds as viable contributors to the country’s agricultural growth.

The agricultural sector in the third quarter of 2012 recorded the highest growth in the economy but compared to the crops subsector, production in the fisheries declined by 24.2 percent.
 
Aquaculture is fast gaining pace as an alternative source of animal protein to meet the consumption needs of the Ghanaian population.

There is a rise in consciousness among farmers, researchers and government on aquaculture development in Ghana, based on the potentials of the sector to create jobs and contribute to the nutritional needs of the population.

Nana Kwaku Siaw, Managing Director of Kumah Farm Complex, describes his polyculture of tilapia and catfish practice as lucrative business.

“Initially people said fish from ponds are not tasty because people don’t know how to feed the fist to get the taste… [but] if we’re to enjoy from the ponds and from cages it can create a lot of jobs for our youth and it’s a very lucrative job too”, he noted.

Women participants in the AquaFish training went on a field trip to the Kumah Farms to experience hands-on activities and to appreciate best practices in aquaculture.

Nana Siaw exposed the women to the relevance of site selection, fish feeding and upkeep of farm.

The women were also tooled with knowledge and skills in maximizing profit from fish farming and marketing.

“People should not just see aquaculture as subsistence… people want to sell fish and make money and we’re sensitizing them about what make a good business”, Dr. Anokye Frimpong said.

The five-year AquaFish Collaborative Research Support Program encompassed multiple objectives to make knowledge in science and technology accessible to fish farmers.

Based on interim follow-up surveys and impact assessment, Dr. Anokye Frimpong is confident the program would be extended when it ends in October 2013.

He also expects Ghana’s Fisheries Directorate to implement its strategic aquaculture action plans to help improve the sector significantly.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

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