The Department of Agriculture of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) in the Effia-Kwesimintsim Municipality of the Western Region has begun training of women fish processors to link catfish farmers and catfish processors along the value chain, especially fish smokers.
This is part of the department’s efforts to improve post-harvest handling and processing skills for women fish processors along the catfish value chain in the area.
The first batch of 15 participants were schooled on market strategies including smoking, selling, packaging in transparent boxes and good labelling.
The Municipal Director of Agriculture, John K. Gyimah, told the Ghanaian Times last Friday that the training was to increase the knowledge of participants on catfish processing and also to create market linkages.
This, he added, would promote value addition and also increase overall income after sales, reduce dust contamination and flies, and that innovations would ultimately improve standards of living of fish processors.
“The Department of Agriculture sees a lot of prospects along the catfish value chain and continues to encourage more youth to venture into tarpaulin catfish farming and subsequent fish processing, let’s change our way of marketing to attract more customers,” Mr Gyimah advocated.
He further urged fish mongers in the Western Region to add new marketing strategies to boost their market, adding that, the assembly was doing its best to develop some new innovations to improve the living condition of every market woman.
This innovation was to reduce scarcity of fish products during closed seasons for marine fishers, he said, stressing that “we don’t want a situation whereby after catfish production, there are no buyers or processors, indeed, we need to expand the frontiers of the catfish value chain.”
Mr Gyimah said “We also do these to avoid gaps in the work of fish processors and maintain sales around the clock in the municipality and in the Western Region generally.”
Already, 35 people had so far embraced the initiative, he told the Ghanaian Times, assuring that more fish processors would also be enrolled in the training programmes this week.
“Catfish farming holds huge potentials for the local economy, and that is the concept of urban agriculture, to increase and improve productivity, provide ready jobs and incomes for our urban population,” the Agriculture Director said.
Later, participants expressed their appreciation to the agriculture department for the renewed efforts to add value to catfish production and urged other fish processors to participate in the training programmes so that they could increase prospects, improve their businesses and incomes.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, ABENBEBOM