The aquaculture business is one that requires a significant amount of investment to sustain and expand operations. Proven to be an alternative and reliable source of income, the call for the adoption of advance and affordable technology and other incentives is just right for farmers.
It is on this background that the Adwenepapa Co-operative Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA) in the Amenfi West Municipality of the Western Region has called on government and other stakeholders for extension services to support farmers adopt best practices in the industry to improve their yield and ultimately sustain their business.
That notwithstanding, the association demands the appropriate use and application of modern technology that will bolster their operations and offer the best alternative for expansion.
A study conducted by the association with support from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund and its Development Partners DANIDA and USAID on “Aquaculture extension services and technology transfer needed to improve members operations” in communities such as Wassa Akropong, Enchi, Samreboi, Manso-Amenfi, Sureso, Asuohyiam, Moseaso, Kwabeng, Achichire and Nkrankrom all in the Amenfi West Municipality indicates that there is the high attrition rate of aquaculture businesses, lack of interest in the aquaculture business, stunted growth of the sub-sector, the very low knowledge base of operatives in the sub-sector, poor farming practices among others.
Chairman for the Association, Nana Blay Dankwa shared that the business is largely constrained by insufficient fish feed and seeds, access to credits and other financial resources for start-ups.
He added that their operations are also hindered by the limited human capacity, aquaculture extension services, technology transfer and weak market systems and markets.
The results, according to Nana Blay Dankwa indicates that high attrition rate and low interest in aquaculture business, stunted growth of the sector, the very low knowledge base of operatives and poor farming practices among others, are areas that require urgent attention to sustain the industry.
“The fishing sector is noted to hold a huge potential to absorb the teeming jobless youth in Ghana and, as part of the Rearing for Food and Jobs programme, it required a boost from the government. We need aquaculture extension services to help us in our operations in areas such as water quality assessment and management, seed/fingerlings production, feed preparation and production, use of inputs, and identification and control of diseases among others,” Nana Dankwa said.
He urged the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to pay attention to their needs and share information with farmers to help them appreciate new technologies in the field.
He recommended that the Ministry resource researchers and other institutions improve on extension services and technology to enable fish farmers to deal with critical areas like water quality management, seed and fingerlings production, and fish feed composition, formulation and preparation.
“The Ministry must also lead a nationwide education on good fish farming practices, exchanging information and technology with relevant institutions for aquaculture development” he noted.
Nana Dankwa said the Government should ensure accessibility and the adoption of improved production and post-production technologies based on farmer resource endowment for increased productivity and farm incomes.
“We are expecting that a secured agreement with the Fisheries Commission for aquaculture extension services should be provided for our members for improved business operations, increased profits and sustainable business, wealth creation and eventual poverty reduction as well as improve government revenue,” he said.