The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mavis Hawa Koomson, has cut sod for the construction of a US$9.76million National Aquaculture Centre and commercial farm at Amrahia Dairy Farm in Accra.
The project, which is expected to be completed within 12 months, is to provide training for 300 aquaculture entrepreneurs as well as produce 50,000 metric tonnes of fish within five years of operation.
According to the minister, the project will include the establishment of an aquaculture production training centre and commercial farm with facilities such as aquaculture indoor structures, classrooms, accommodation for students and staff, mechanic workshop, packing warehouses and cold storage as well as a storage facility for chemicals and inputs, water reservoir, power station offices, and car park.
The project is also set to train and equip interested youths, especially university graduates in entrepreneurial aquaculture production.
She said apart from providing job opportunities for the youths, the project forms part of government’s effort to bridge the gap between domestic fish demand and supply.
“Aquaculture development is critical for national development, considering the fact that over the past decades, fish catches from marine subsectors have decreased and the profit margins for the marine fisheries subsector are declining, with some, especially the artisanal fisheries making losses. Hence, the facility is an alternative measure that holds the prospect for a quantum increase in fish production,” she said.
Aquaculture expert, Samuel Addo, who is the consultant for the project, said it will produce 25 tonnes of tilapia every year under fixed vent greenhouse technology. It will also have a climate-controlled hatchery for 500,000 fingerlings per year and have a 500-meter square post-harvest storage centre.
He noted that the current total annual fish production from aquaculture in the country is estimated at 10 percent and this can be improved with technology and capacity building such as the project in session.
He said: “the project is an alternative solution to the industry’s reliance on the Volta Lake for fish farming, with all the attendant problems including the outbreak of fish diseases and lack of control over water quality”.
“This system offers full control of the water quality and increased fish biomass per unit area. This will ultimately not only reduce fish import dependency but will also increase fish production and enrich local capacity and technical know-how for continuity by Ghanaians,” he added.
Globally, the aquaculture industry is increasingly gaining recognition for its critical role in bridging the gap between demand and supply of fish while serving the needs of the poor in society. The industry provides the much-needed high-quality animal protein at affordable prices to the poorer segments of society and also provides employment opportunities and cash income to the teeming youth.
Amrahia Dairy Farm
The Amrahia Dairy Farm was one of the projects Dr. Kwame Nkrumah embarked on under his programme of industrialisation. Amrahia Dairy Farm was designed to provide facilities and resources for the use of students of agriculture and for research, tailored to benefit local farmers.