SEND-Ghana, a non-governmental organisation, has called on government to enforce bye-laws to properly regulate the fishing industry and reduce illegal activities.
Nana Kwesi Barning-Ackah, a Field Officer of SEND-Ghana, said application of the laws had become necessary to ensuring that the fisher folk increased their yield.
He made the call at a national dialogue on a situational analysis of farmers and fisher-folk in Accra.
The meeting, held in partnership with Oxfam, brought to the fore the challenges crop farmers and fisher-folk face with potential gender differences.
It was on the theme: “Promoting Economic Justice, Food, Security and Agricultural Governance Using Gender Responsive Budgeting.”
He said to effectively patrol the over 300 landing sites dotted along the coast, the laws must work and people who flouted it must be dealt with accordingly.
Nana Barning-Ackah appealed to government to assist by subsidising the cost of fishing inputs such as outboard motors and fishing nets, fast-track the construction of landing beaches, particularly in James Town, and strengthen sensitization of fisher-folk on new fishing methods.
Reporting on the findings of the agricultural sector, he said food security was important to the economy and, therefore, the need for government to commit resources to increase yield.
He said farmers were constantly faced with the challenges of land acquisition, marketing, agricultural inputs, storage facilities and loans to enhance their work.
It was, therefore, important for government to recruit more extension officers and equip them with the needed tools to assist farmers to ensure best practices[HD1], Nana Barning-Ackah said.
He said government should dialogue with traditional authorities to limit encroachment on dedicated agriculture lands as there were not enough lands for farming activities.
“Government should fast-track the construction of warehouses/storage facilities to help farmers store their produce during bumper harvests and have reserves for the dry season as well as create avenues for farmers and fisher-folk to easily access loans,” he said.
Dr Emmanuel Ayifah, the Deputy Country Director SEND-Ghana, said the dialogue was to increase evidence to inform public policy debates on gender-responsive budgeting in agriculture and the fisheries sector.
Rev. Enock Baodu Amo, the Deputy Director/Acting Head, Research, Statistics and Information Management Directorate, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, commended SEND-Ghana for carrying out the research.
He said the Ministry had taken note of the various challenges in the sector and was working to mitigate them.
Mr Amo said plans to build fishing harbours at the landing beaches and inland were underway to ensure proper storage.
He noted that the close season had come to stay and urged fishermen to adhere to it to reduce the over-exploitation of fish stocks in marine waters.
Mr Robert Nettey, a Fisherman at James Town, called on government to ensure that all forms of illegal fishing methods were stopped to give meaning to the close season.
Chief Osman Fukuyama, a Farmer at Bereku in the Central Region, called for organic agriculture to enhance the sector, saying; “We need to keep our lands fertile to increase yields if not Ghana would soon have to import food to feed her citizens.”