The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MOFAD) and the Fisheries Commission launched a new training centre to support the development of the small-scale fish processing sector in Ghana, Tuesday.
The new training centre, under the management of Development Action Association (DAA), will provide assistance to government’s efforts at improving and promoting hygienic fish processing both at the national and regional levels. It will also reduce post-harvest losses in the small-scale fish processing sector nationwide.
Delivering her address at the inauguration ceremony at Kokrobite on Tuesday, June 19, the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Elizabeth Naa Afoley Quaye noted that the DAA Training Centre will train about 300 fish-processors annually. This, she said, would ensure that the centre attains a Class One (1) hygienic fish processing certification.
“The DAA centre will train over 300 fish processors each year to achieve the class one certification and serve as a centre for delivering accredited proficiency courses for fish processing and packaging of the Council for Technical Vocational Education and Training”, Mrs Afoley Quaye disclosed.
She added that the ‘ahotor’ ovens, an initiative under the USAID project, would help reduce cancer risks among fish processors who use the ‘chorkor smokers’.
The Acting Director for Economic Growth at USAID Ghana, James Lykos urged the Ministry to implement the closed season in order to protect waterbodies against overfishing. He also charged the citizenry, government officials as well as traditional leaders to join forces in order to address Ghana’s marine challenges.
“Everyone here including the youth, women and men, traditional leaders, government officials, universities, and all stakeholders must work together to solve Ghana’s marine challenges. To help safeguard this vital sector against the threat of overfishing, I’d like to urge the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to implement the closed season as proposed in the national fisheries management plan”, Mr Lykos suggested.
The DAA Centre has already trained over 150 fisherfolk, government staff and other stakeholders working with small-scale fisheries processing since January this year. 150 oyster pickers were also trained in oyster ecology, biology and mangrove nursery establishment.
The DAA Training Centre is funded by USAID’s Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP), a global hunger and food security initiative by the US government.