As a majority of the world’s capture fisheries sector remains over-exploited, with the situation not different in Ghana, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministry has said plans are underway to start value addition to fisheries products.
Sector Minister Madam Mavis Hawa Koomson disclosed this, saying: “With the number of fleets increasing, catch per unit effort (CPUE) for all fleets dwindling – except tuna, the best option at this time is to venture into processing and preservation for value addition”.
She was speaking at the agricultural fair opening at the 38th National Farmers’ Day Celebration at the Jubilee Park in Koforidua.
The Fisheries Commission has estimated that the country’s annual fish requirement was at 1.2 million tonnes as of 2020.
Of this, total domestic production for the period stood at 471,794 metric tonnes – representing 38 percent of the total national fish requirement. This includes fish produced from marine, inland and aquaculture sources.
Likewise, the ‘Ghana seafood report’ by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released in March this year has shown that Ghana imported 343,000 metric tonnes of sea-food products in 2021 valued at US$290million.
Madam Koomson however admitted that the situation could worsen, as capture fisheries do not have the capacity to increase and bridge the depleting-gap. This is further worsened by annual domestic production and imports that are not able to meet consumption requirements.
“That is why the ministry has included a policy focus area on Post-Harvest Management and Trade of Fish and Fish Products in the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy-2022, which is approved by Cabinet.
She said with support from the Ghana Fisheries Recovery Activity Project (GFRA) of USAID, a value chain analysis of the small pelagic fisheries has been conducted in the coastal regions of Ghana.
The study offered an opportunity to better understand the actors, processes, activities and institutions in the value chain, as well as issues and bottlenecks.
“In the coming years, strategies will be implemented to address these issues to promote value addition, as well as adapt and market new products developed out of fish,” she said.
Madam Koomson reiterated MoFAD’s commitment to continue combatting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing activities, monitor implementation of the Ministerial Directive on gear specifications for the trawl subsector, as well as continue working with the appropriate government agencies for adequate supplies of fishing inputs to all fishers.
Also, the Ghana National Aquaculture Development Plan (2023-2027) is part of the many policies developed to promote aquaculture development to pave the way for the ministry and its stakeholders to accelerate aquaculture development while ensuring environmental sustainability and safe fish for consumption at competitive prices.
The Agriculture Fair and National Farmers’ Day
The agriculture fair is a 4-day event that heralds this year’s National Farmers Day (NFD) Celebration, which is the 38th edition.
The event will help actors within the agriculture and fisheries value chains display products relevant to their sectors.
For the fisheries sector, there will be an exhibition of fish species for fish-farming such as tilapia and catfish; fish products and a display of infographics on the sector’s activities.
The 38th NFD celebration is on the theme ‘Accelerating Agriculture Development through Value Addition’.