The President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Hon. Mavis Hawa Koomson, inaugurated the Aquaculture Centre and Commercial Farms in Amrahia, located in the Adentan Municipality of Accra.

The $10 million project, situated on the Dairy Farms at Amrahia, aims to transform and expand the aquaculture subsector, thereby increasing domestic production and reducing fish imports. The Centre is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and will primarily focus on cultivating tilapia, catfish, and prawns, which are essential ingredients in the Ghanaian and West African diet. It is projected that within a span of five years, the Centre will achieve a fish production of 50,000 metric tons.

Furthermore, the project aims to train, support and establish 200 ‘aquapreneurs’ within the next five years. This initiative aims to create more employment opportunities for fish farmers by incorporating modernized aquaculture technology. Additionally, the project aims to actively engage youth graduates and women in the aquaculture value chain, with the overarching objective of reducing poverty.

During his speech at the inaugural ceremony, President Akufo-Addo described the project as another significant milestone in the government’s continuous efforts to develop the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. The ultimate aim is to ensure food security within the country.

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He emphasized that the Centre, which works in tandem with the Ministry‚Äôs flagship program “Agriculture for Food and Jobs,” demonstrates government’s dedication to reducing graduate unemployment in the country.

The Fisheries and Aquaculture industries are estimated to employ around three million individuals across the entire value chain. Notably, the fishing industry alone contributes approximately 60% of the nation’s annual protein supply.

The sector contributes to approximately 11% of Ghana’s agricultural GDP and provides employment to approximately 20% of the country’s workforce, both directly and indirectly. The export of fish and fish products generated $254 million in revenue for the country last year.

Pollution, biodiversity loss, ocean dumping, overfishing, and other maritime pressures such as overexploitation, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, piracy, and trafficking pose significant threats to the marine stocks of the country. President Akufo-Addo highlighted that the project serves as a direct response to these numerous threats faced by the fisheries sector.

The project aims to address the challenges of declining sea catches and increasing fish demand. It also seeks to boost domestic fish production, enhance aquaculture expertise, and create employment opportunities for the youth.

President Akufo-Addo stated, “The objective of the Centre is to produce fish products and generate employment by training the local population as fish farmers, with a particular emphasis on university graduates.”

According to the President, as water bodies dry up and become polluted due to human activities and the pressure on land acquisition intensifies, the modernization of aquaculture should involve utilizing less water space while increasing productivity.

“The Centre we are commissioning today employs one such modern technology that possesses these attributes, known as the Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS). This system not only offers minimal maintenance costs and relatively moderate to low consumption, but it also ensures the production of healthy and export-ready products,” the President noted.Top of Form

The Centre will ensure an annual production of 25 metric tons of tilapia, 25 metric tons of catfish, and 4 metric tons of prawns. This will lead to an overall increase in fish production, a decrease in fish imports, and the enhancement of local capacity and technical expertise through the training of youth at the Centre,” he stated.

In addition, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mavis Hawa Koomson, disclosed that the ministry has developed a new aquaculture development plan for the sustainable development of the sector, which will be implemented from 2023 to 2027.

She mentioned that the implementation of the plan was projected to enhance aquaculture production from 89,376 metric tonnes in 2021 to 211,697 metric tonnes by the conclusion of 2027.

Hon. Koomson also highlighted that the establishment of the centre would contribute to the effective execution of the Aquaculture for Food and Jobs initiative by the Ministry. It would provide essential hands-on practical training to beneficiaries of the initiative, thereby enhancing their skills and capabilities.