Fish is a preferred source of animal protein for many Ghanaians, however, the country’s quest to produce large quantities hangs in balance due to environmental forces associated with its production.
Ghana has a fish stock deficit of 460,000 metric tons in meeting its national demand. This has compelled the country to rely more on aquaculture production to meet the national demand, with the sector employing almost 10% of the country’s population. The Ashanti region, which is known to be one of the populous regions with 3,612,950 people, depends largely on cold fish for consumption. The development pushes for serious sensitization in the demand and consumption of fresh fish in the region .
The volume of fish produced in the region, in 2016, was 122 metric tons. However, the markets for fresh fish produced remains a big blow for the aquaculture production in the region.
Nana Sefa Boakye, a hatchery farmer at Bosore in the Kwabre district of the Ashanti region, notes that there ought to be immediate attention to improve the sector.
He lamented the lack of market for the local fish farmers is a major worry to the industry, particularly also given the huge investment the fish farming requires.
“Marketing of fresh fish from the ponds has it own challenges in the region, as consumers preferred the cold fish to fresh fish from the ponds,” he noted.
He said if the situation remains unchanged it will eventually put many fish farmers, if not all, out of business.
Nana Sefa Boakye therefore wants the Fisheries Commission to identify markets for their produce notwithstanding their efforts to encourage fresh fish production.
The Acting Regional Director of Fisheries Commission, Ms. Yaa Tiwaa, acknowledged that the situation is worrisome, and appealed to the people in the region to embrace the concept of aquaculture production.
The Commission was hopeful that its projection of 200 metric tons of fish will be realized by the end of 2017.
‘The bother, is however the low patronage which forms part of a number of factors militating against the progress of the industry,’ she observed.