The Ministry for Fisheries and Agriculture Development (MoFAD) has restocked 32 dams and dugouts with 10 million catfish, tilapia and heterotis fingerlings in some communities in the Northern part of the country.
The initiative is part of interventions being made to promote aquaculture development, Madam Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, Fisheries and Agriculture Development Minister said.
The restocking, carried out in June last year, was expected to provide additional 10,350 metric tons of fish to enhance the nutrition intake of the communities in northern Ghana.
The minister was responding to questions related to her ministry in Parliament in Accra yesterday.
Responding to a question posed by Frank Annoh-Dompreh, Member of Parliament for Nsawam-Adoagyiri, as to whether the suppliers of the fingerlings had been paid, Madam Quaye answered in the affirmative, but fell short in disclosing the amount of money involved.
She said the three companies, namely, M/S Northern Empowerment Association, M/S Flosell Limited and M/S Delta Fisheries Limited had been paid since January this year, with all the companies acknowledging receipt of payments with the exception of M/S Northern Empowerment Association.
Madam Quaye said the aquaculture industry has a high potential to increase domestic fish production, reduce fish imports and create additional jobs along the value chain.
She said in order to harness the full potential of the industry, there was the need to provide adequate incentives to stimulate sector participation, especially in the inputs supply to aquaculture operators.
Madam Quaye said one of the main hindrances to the development of the aquaculture industry was the high cost of inputs, explaining that “it increases the cost of production and reduces profitability of the industry along the value chain.”
“It also militates against the investment drive in the aquaculture sub-sector,” she added.
Responding to another question from Mr Annoh-Dompreh as to the steps being taken to waive taxes on agriculture inputs to serve as a booster to the industry, she said plans were far advanced to get aquaculture inputs back into the tax waiver regime.
Explaining further, she said in the process of the implementing the Harmonised System and Customs Tariff Schedule (HSCTS) in 2007, the exemptions granted covered fishing inputs, however, when the schedule was reviewed in 2017, all the exemptions were removed from the list.
Ms Quaye said as part of efforts to ensure the inclusion of aquaculture inputs on the list of exemptions, MOFAD had held consultations with key stakeholders in the industry and agreed on the list of inputs exclusive to the use of aquaculture industry.
She said the ministry had submitted the list of inputs to the Ministry of Finance for consideration and inclusion in the HSCTS, adding that it was expect that the list submitted would be within the framework of the 2017 HSCTS.
BY LAWRENCE MARKWEI