GIZ Aquapreneurship project launched in Western Region

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Economics Launch Aquapreneurs
Launch Aquapreneurs

Mrs. Hawa Koomson, the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, says the Ministry has reviewed and expanded key policy areas all geared towards replenishing fish stock in the country.

The reviewed policy, currently at the validation stage, takes effect in 2022 with specific goals, operational objectives and policy action points for attainment of set targets.

The Ministry, she added, was also at the final preparatory stage of the Marine Fisheries Management Plan for the 2022-2026 calendar year.

The Minister at the launch of the Promoting Aquapreneurship in Western Region Project implemented by the GIZ with funding from European Union and NORAD, said the aquaculture sector had been targeted as the means to close the gap between national fish demand and fish production.

The GIZ project falls under the Employment and Skills for Development in Africa programme.

Mrs. Koomson noted that the sector, mostly private led, required long term capital coupled with high cost of fish feed estimated at 70 percent of the total cost of production.

She said government intervention through Aquaculture for food and jobs was to help solve the emerging challenges in the sector.

Currently, the government initiative operates in 24 sites in 13 Regions for 16 youth groups, four educational institutions and four prison centres, she indicated.

“Our objective is to increase domestic fish production and create jobs along the value chain and as well as support farmers to form holding facilities, fingerlings, feed, training and extension services,” she added.

So far, 164 fish holding facilities, 328,000 fingerlings and 2000 bags of fish feed had been distributed to beneficiaries as start-ups.

The Minister said, “I am happy to announce that the Aquaculture for food and jobs project would be in full gear from 2022 to 2025 to enhance fish food and nutrition security in the country.”

Mr. John Duti, The Team Lead on the programme from the GIZ, said the project runs in seven African countries to promote and create sustainable employment through public-private cooperation with a special focus on women, youth and green jobs.

He said the project in Ghana since 2005 had implemented 18 projects with some private sector led businesses, giving over 2000 people some decent jobs, increased income, and improved working conditions.

He said developing fish farms along the coast of the Western Region between now and 2023 would not only reverse the current shortage in fish supply, but create jobs for 700 people, particularly youth and women.

Mr. Duti said the project would see the creation of 32 businesses, start-ups support such as tanks, ponds and processing facilities, solar mechanised water pumping machines, feeds and fingerlings.

The project would also provide motorbikes and laptops for the officers to assist with monitoring, training and data collection.

Mr. Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, the Western Regional Minister, said the government introduced the close season in accordance with sections 76(3) and 84 of the Fisheries Act 2002(act 625) to reduce pressure and over exploitation of fish stocks in the Marine domain.

“It is good to note that the project will be spread across the four zonal areas of the Region under the supervision of the Fisheries Commission… I urged the beneficiary Districts to take charge of this intervention to create jobs and improve employment conditions”.

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