A mobile application —fish farm tracker App — that aids fish farming management and marketing was yesterday launched in Accra to end a three-year project on aquaculture improvement in the country.
It would provide digital solution for general fish farm records keeping, data collection, production management, basic fish health and water quality monitoring, business and economic management.
It would also serve as a real-time online fish market, give extension support to farmers and provide a platform for fish farmers to communicate with their colleagues, clients and experts.
A consortium of international and local research institutes, led by International Food Policy Research Institute (FPRI), and the Water Research Institute, (WRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) implemented the project titled “Accelerating aquaculture development in Ghana through sustainable Nile Tilapia seed production and dissemination (TiSeed).”
Launched in February 2019, it was aimed to address issues in the tilapia seed and extension system to improve productivity and profitability of tilapia cage and pond farming in Ghana, with particular focus on women and youth small-scale fish farmers.
The Director of Research, Statistics and Information management at the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mr Ishmael Adjei Brown, who launched the App on behalf of the sector minister, said the App and knowledge gained from the project would boost the sector.
He urged the Fisheries Commission to support the implementers to scale up their work, and advised beneficiaries to share the knowledge and skills acquired with others.
In a presentation, Project lead, Dr Catherine Ragasa, said the project was implemented in seven regions; Volta, Eastern, Ashanti, Bono, Bono East, Ahafo and Greater Accra, with $1.4 million from the Netherlands and other sponsors.
She said 378 fish farmers, zonal officers and youth were trained, with 36 hatchery and nursery operators supported to improve their operations with research papers and other documents to aid knowledge acquisition.
She said the TiSeed project contributed significantly to increasing fish farming production in the country by 2,500 tonnes from 2020 to 2021, especially among pond farmers.
“More than half of the trained farmers experienced lower fish mortality, faster growth and heavier fish and also improved their records keeping, water management and biosafety practices.
“The training has led to an increase of 0.48 more kilogramme of fish harvested per square metre, or $627 additional income per trainee per year on average,” Dr Ragasa said.
The CSIR-WRI Director, Prof. Mike Atweneboana, in a speech read on his behalf, said when the project started, the tilapia seed system had been compromised, resulting in loss of poor quality seeds, jobs losses and food insecurity.
Lauding implementers for surmounting the COVID-19 challenges to achieve their aim, he called on stakeholders to adopt best practices from the project to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.
A Senior Manager at the FC, Ms Jennifer Viglo, said the fisheries sector was a source of employment for many people in the country, hence the need for all efforts to be made to sustain it.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR