Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Hon. Atto Cudjoe, has assured the public that the government is highly committed to work with all stakeholders to revive and improve the fortunes of all actors within the fisheries and aquaculture value chain.
He said this during the launch of the 2nd maiden edition of the Livestock, Poultry, and Fisheries (LiPF) tradeshow which was organized by the Agri-house Foundation with the theme, “Step Up” at Accra.
Mr Cudjoe said, “To improve and revive the fisheries sector, the government made good to its promise to support aquaculture particularly through the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development implementing the fisheries sector flagship programme, Aquaculture for Food and Jobs.”
According to him, the programme is tailored to mobilize 10,200 unemployed youth nationwide into the Aquaculture Enterprise Groups where successful beneficiaries will be trained in modern aquaculture production techniques and support with necessary inputs such as fish feed, fingerlings, tanks, and cages to engage in commercial fish farming.
“This would thrive and create more jobs and consequently improve the livelihood of the people across the country”, he added.
He mentioned that the policy will support distress farmers, second cycle institutions, and other public institutions to set up new aquaculture establishments as well as rejuvenate the existing ones.
Out of this an estimated 7,000 additional direct and indirect jobs and 33,628 metric tonnes of fish would be produced.
He complimented the Agri-house Foundation for conceiving and implementing such a magnificent initiative to help people to identify the opportunities present in the livestock, poultry, and fisheries sector and how to harness this opportunity for job creation, reduction in unemployment, and growth of the Ghanaian economy.
The Chief Party of United States Development of Agriculture-Ghana Poultry Project (USDA-GPP), Carianne De Boer entreated the government, civil society, and the industry players to stem the tides and work together purposefully and decisively to realize a shared vision for agricultural development.
“Let us build a partnership that would accelerate self-sufficiency in food production for Ghana and strengthen the local market systems in order to boost resiliency in these uncertain times, the time to step up is now”, she remarked.
She urged all to build a strong positive regulatory environment that will step up private investment and access to finance in agriculture.
Contributing to financial support to the fishery industry, the General Manager in charge of Agribusiness at Agriculture Development Bank (ADB), Kwame Asiedu Attrams explained that supports from the Bank to the industry have been in a form of working capital to buy feed, loans to acquire processing units to add value to the fresh fish and importation of outboard motors and fishing gears to the fishermen.
“This year, in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, the Board of Directors approved an amount of 20 million Ghana Cedis for the importation of 1,300 outboard motors to be distributed to fishers in support of their work”, he said.
He commended the government, the sector Minister and his team, and Agri-house Foundation for the enthusiasm exhibited in moving Ghana’s agriculture forward.
The Executive Director, Agri-house Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa thanked the government for the renewed effort to revamp the livestock and aquaculture sector through the introduction of Rearing for Food and Jobs and Aquaculture for Food and Jobs programmes.
She commended the inputs of the stakeholders like the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, USDA-GPP, the National Farmers and Fishermen Association, etc. for making the event a success.