Some fish farmers and institutions in the Upper East Region are sustainably increasing fish production and contributing to the national fish stock for food and nutritional security.
The government, under its Aquaculture for Food and Jobs programme, has empowered some youth groups and institutions in the region including the Navrongo Central Prison and the Navrongo Youth Farmers Brigade in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality to venture into pond and cage fish farming.
Apart from providing them with technical knowledge and expertise, the government, through the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, had also supported them with fish feed, fingerlings and holding facilities.
This aimed to sustainably increase fish production in the region, created employment and helped reduce poverty among the youth and contributed to the country’s drive to achieve food and nutritional security.
Mr Francis Adjei, the Upper East Regional Director, Fisheries Commission, who said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga noted that catfish and tilapia were being cultivated.
At the Navrongo Central Prison, under the pond fish farming, two cages were provided with 24,000 fingerlings and 274 bags of fish feed supplied and they recorded two harvests and restocked the cages with new fingerlings.
“They have harvested two times and were yet to harvest the third time, although the first-time stocking was high, that is, 12,000 per cage which resulted in mortalities, the harvest was over 600 kilogrammes while the second harvest was 1,460 kilogrammes.
Mr Adjei noted that the Navrongo Youth Farmers Brigade, were also supported with 11,000 tilapia fingerlings and 274 bags of fish feed were supplied to them, which had provided jobs to them and increased their income levels.
Apart from that, the Commission had also restocked the capture fisheries including the dams and other water bodies in the region and collaborated with stakeholders including the Irrigation Company of Upper Region, Ghana Police Service, chiefs, and farmers to ensure safety.
The Regional Director explained that the Directorate had a demonstration fishpond for providing technical and practical training on fish farming to students and youth and the move had motivated about 20 people to venture into backyard fishing farming.
“Over 50,000 catfish have been stocked in these backyard fish farming which is tank and tarpaulin fish farming and some people have harvested already, with the first one having about 500 kilogrammes and the second one 250 kilogrammes ,” he added.
Mr Adjei explained that excessive cost of fingerlings and fish feed had been identified as two critical challenges confronting fish production in the region and the government was working to address them to encourage more youth into the sector through the setting up of hatcheries in the Northern enclave.
He said currently the government was renovating the fish hatcheries at Gowrie, near the Vea Dam in the Bongo District, adding “when that is finished, we will be able to supply over one million fingerlings annually to fish farmers in the Northern enclave.
“Because currently the farmers travel down south to purchase the fingerlings and by the time, they get here about 70 to 80 per cent are dead and so, before the hatchery is ready for use the Commission uses its vehicle to transport the fingerlings from the South to the farmers which has reduced the mortality rate to about two per cent,”.
Mr Adjei encouraged the youth to venture into backyard fish farming and noted that the Commission had been able to identify a private entrepreneur who had established fish feed production company in Bolgatanga and would soon begin to supply feed to the Northern sector. -GNA