Henceforth, members of the Tema Manhean Fishmongers and Smokers Association will now extend their business hours and customers will also feel comfortable while doing business with members of the Association at Manhean in Tema in Ghana. This comes on the backdrop of the provision of a 50-metre square modern washroom facility by the Fisheries Committee of West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC), under an agreement with Fish Trade. The facility contains two toilets, eight washrooms and a septic tank.
Under the Fish Trade Program, funded by the European Union, the FCWC is working in partnership with WorldFish, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency and the African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR). The overall aim of this collaborative program is to promote cross-border fish trade. Processed fish from the Tema Manhean Fishmongers and Smokers Association is sold not only in Ghana, but also in Togo, Benin and Nigeria. Thus, the provision of the facility under this program is to help improve the fish business.
At a ceremony to commission the facility on 30th March 2017, at Tema – Manhean, the President of the Association, Madam Naomi Korkor Abo, thanked the FCWC and its partners for the support. “We are very grateful to the FCWC and its partners for this facility. Now our customers can have confidence in us because they know they now have a place to free themselves while doing business with us,” she said.
The Secretary General of the FCWC and Ghana's Minister of Fisheries shaking hands after the commissioning of the facility
The Secretary General of the FCWC, Mr Seraphin Nadje Dedi – on behalf of the President of the Conference of Ministers of the FCWC, the Hon. Moses Zinnah, Liberia’s Minister of Agriculture – thanked the Government of Ghana for its efforts at improving fish trade. Mr Dedi also lauded the cooperation between FCWC and its partners, indicating that he considered the collaborative achievement, resulting in the provision of the facility, as further strengthening cooperation and partnership.
He observed that providing the facility would contribute to partly fulfilling the core mandate of the FCWC. “The decision of the FCWC and its partners to support the fish traders with this facility is part of our core mandate as a Regional Fisheries Body to promote sustainable post-harvest fishery activities to the economic and social benefits of the people,” he said.
A representative of WorldFish in Zambia, Mr Idriss Ali Nassah, observed that his organisation, in partnership with the African Union and NEPAD Agency, had an agreement with nine universities in Africa to conduct research and make recommendations on improving fish production. While applauding the Government of Ghana for recognising the important role fisheries play in the growth of the Ghanaian economy, Mr Nassah also called for efforts from governments to ensure a safe work environment and a profitable livelihood for women fish traders and processors.
Ghana’s Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mrs Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, said her Ministry has a policy of promoting hygienic handling of fish, from the fisherman through processing to the consumer. She, therefore, encouraged fish traders to always practise personal hygiene. Mrs Afoley Quaye further observed that the Ministry had taken measures to ensure that fish was safe and of good quality before being consumed. “The Ministry, as part of ensuring safe and quality fish for our consumers, has made it mandatory for all vessels to pass the basic sanitary requirements for vessels regulation, before obtaining licence to fish in Ghanaian waters,” she said.
As a way-forward, the FCWC is planning an exchange programme for members of the Tema Manhean Fishmongers and Smokers Association to visit and interact with their counterparts at Abobodoumé in Côte d’Ivoire. The visit will enable members to learn from the use of a new and an easy-to-assemble fish drying technology developed by the FAO and used by small-scale fish processors at Abobodoumé. The technology helps to reduce health hazards, improve food safety and quality, improve working conditions and cut down food losses.