Fish farmers appeal to government for cheaper feed

Fish farmers in the Ashanti Region have appealed to the government to come to their aid in getting cheaper feed for their farms.

They claim that due to the continuous depreciation of the cedi against the dollar, the price of the feed they use keeps rising on daily basis; thus increasing the cost of doing business.

They believe that if the government could get them a guaranteed price for the commodity, which is mostly imported, it would go a long way to help them to produce to meet the local demand for fish.

The Chairman of the Ashanti Regional Fish Farmers Association, Nana Kwaku Siaw, made the appeal on behalf of the members when the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Nayon Bilijo, met the members of the association during his tour of the region.

Nana Siaw, who is also the Managing Director of Kumah Farms at Domeabra in the Ejisu-Juaben Municipality, said the high cost of feeds was one of the main challenges facing the farmers, besides getting available market for their produce.

As a result of the high cost of the feed, he said some of them had resorted to producing their own feed, which, he said, do not contain the right nutrient to get the fish to grow into the right sizes.

Currently, the country produces only 40 per cent of the total consumption, with the rest being imported. As at 2012, the total fish consumption of the country was 880 000 metric tons, with the local production around 420, 000 metric tons.

Mr Bilijo said the ministry, as part of its programme to promote aquaculture in the country to boost the local production of fish, was devoting its attention to the sector this year.

As part of the programmes to promote aquaculture, he said the ministry would establish nucleus fish farms along the Volta Lake.

He said each nucleus farm would have between 10 to 15 out-grower or satellite farms attached to it and the ministry would be providing fingerlings and also help train others to set up their own fish ponds.

He said these nucleus farms would also help in the marketing of the fish, as it would buy them from the satellite farms for distribution.

According to him, Ghana is the leading fish consumer in Africa and if “we don’t find ways to increase the local production, we will end up spending lot of foreign exchange in importing more to meet the local demand.”

The objective of the nucleus farm project, he said, is to increase the fish production in the country, reduce the high import bill and also improve food security in the country.

The project is expected to be implemented within the next 30 months.

Mr Bilijo said the government was in the process of developing a concept paper and ways of funding the project.

He was, however, unable to tell where the funding for the project would come from. According to him, talks are still ongoing and will not want to commit himself now.

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