Government’s commitment to improving food security is receiving a major boost with plans underway to produce shrimp larvae to supply out-growers in the country.
The initiative in the fishing sector is important to provide alternative livelihood to fishermen due to dwindling marine stocks.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, with the necessary legal framework, policies and technical support, is leading the drive to adopt the best method of shrimp cultivation to make the venture competitive and attractive to entrepreneurs.
This laudable and bold initiative when implemented, according to the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Madam Sherry Ayittey, would create jobs and wealth and contribute towards the country’s socio-economic development.
The focus of the initiative is to address one critical success factor hindering shrimp farming by establishing larvae laboratory through private partnership.
The Minister disclosed this during a working tour to some shrimp farms in Brazil to assess their operations to help Ghana fashion out a Ghanaian tailored programme but with global understanding.
The Ministry will facilitate the process for the partnership to ensure the sustainability and competitiveness of the project. She said government intends to facilitate the establishment of nucleus and out grower aquaculture schemes to accelerate aquaculture production.
Under the scheme, existing and potential out-growers will receive inputs and technical credit support at moderate cost with flexible terms of payment.
“We cannot continue to rely on depleting marine stocks hence the pragmatic approach to develop a robust aquaculture project with huge potentials for Ghana,” she stated.
According to her, in order to achieve the best for the country it is important to augment the domestic production of fish as part of efforts to reduce the importation of fish and fish products.
An investment forum for Public-Private-Partnership in Aquaculture will also be organized to facilitate provision of basic infrastructure such as roads, electricity, potable drinking water etc, to aquaculture priority areas and also develop a Regulatory Framework for Accelerated Aquaculture Development.
The visit also took her to Galvol Aquaculture, one of the largest shrimp farms in Brazil with 500 million monthly larvae production capacity and controlling about 25% of market share of the current 24 billion annual demand.
Galvol Aquaculture also produces 6000 tons of shrimps a year from the farm, which is processed at the food processing plant with workforce of over 1,200.
Brazilian farmers currently supply over 90% of the total consumption of 120,000 tons of shrimps per annum in the country with 20,000 tons from marine waters.
The Ghana is project is to ensure sustainability through the value chain and attract the youth to see aquaculture as a viable business.
Madam Ayittey pointed out that it is government’s priority to position fisheries as a viable investment for private capital and create an enabling environment for fisheries development in the country.
The minister also visited the farm of Professor Enox Main; owner of Furura Aquaculture with 460 ponds where he combines both mono and polyculture method at his farm to cultivate tilapia and shrimps separately and also tilapia and shrimps in one pond.
Government will support farmers with input credit schemes for existing farms and starters and strengthen aquaculture extension delivery to support the nucleus and out-grower farm concept.