Oysters are found in many of the streams and rivers in Ghana, but predominantly found in the Volta River. Oysters are primarily used for food, but in their shells are a solution to one of Ghana’s major economic problems.
Oysters have very high essential vitamins and minerals such as protein, iron, omega three fatty acids, calcium, zinc, and vitamins C. Another important benefit in eating oysters is, it poses no danger to the cholesterol levels in the human body. A research done by University of Washington, United States, shows, oysters raise good cholesterol levels and lowers bad cholesterol levels.
Another fact about eating oysters that will blow your mind is that it is an aphrodisiac. This is because it contains high levels of zinc which helps the body to produce testosterone, a hormone responsible for regulating the sexual libido in both women and men.
Research has it that zinc also increases sperm count and the swimming ability of sperm, therefore increasing sexual potency in men. It is also good for the ovaries and increases sexual libido in women.
Despite these health benefits oysters are consumed by only a few in Ghana, due to superstitious beliefs and relative scarcity on the market. Oysters are mostly fished from the Volta River and only sold in few markets around the country due to lack of proper processing and preservation methods. In Ghana oysters are cooked, fried, or dried and this method of preservation limits the possibility of transporting them over wider areas.
They are very valuable economically not only for their meat, but their shells as well. Oyster shells can be used in landscaping, replacing gravels and tiles, when paired with cement can be used to design beautiful pavements, and interiors. Oyster shells are made up of 95percent calcium carbonate, therefore when the shells are crushed into powder and mixed with the soil; they release calcium which de-acidifies soil and helps balance soil PH.
In a country like Ghana, where agriculture is the main income earner, this is a blessing. Making fertilisers from oyster shells is simple and inexpensive, and these fertilizers are natural which is good for countless reasons. Government must therefore pay attention to the Oyster Business and make resources available to fishermen to be able to process and preserve oysters for the wider market both local and abroad.
Oysters are very rare and expensive, but if given the needed attention they could serve as one of the means of solving the many economic and social problems faced by our dear nation Ghana.
Oyster rearing if encouraged by the state will only not solve issues of unemployment, but also help in earning foreign exchange since it is a delicacy which is in high demand on the international market. I therefore want to appeal to government and the Ministry of Agriculture to encourage the youth and provide incentives to people who are interested in oyster farming to make the natural resource a profitable venture in Ghana as a whole.
Source: Evelyn Addor / Public Agenda