GHANA - The government is to establish a $5 million revolving fund to provide microcredit support for fishermen to expand their businesses, the Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has announced.
The decision to establish the fund, with support from the World Bank, is in line with the government’s desire to inject more capital into the setting up and expansion of businesses in the country, reports GhanaWeb.
Mr Amissah-Arthur made this known when he addressed the maiden Greater Accra Regional Fish Festival at Ningo-Prampram. It had the theme, “Promoting sustainable fisheries and aquaculture for national development.”
The festival, the first of its kind in the country, was designed to bring fishermen, fishmongers and the various fishing associations together and to display various fish species in Ghanaian waters to the public. It was also to make known some of the innovations in the industry.
Mr Amissah-Arthur stated that in spite of the significant contribution the fisheries sector had made to the economy, infrastructural investments had not kept pace with other developments in the industry, for which reason the government had decided to develop cold store facilities in selected communities.
A new Prampram cold store, which the Vice-President inaugurated, was the sixth to be constructed.
While appreciating the efforts of industry players to sustain the industry, Mr Amissah-Arthur highlighted the need for them to comply with the provisions of the Fisheries Act (Act 625) and the Fisheries Regulation 2010 (LI 1968) to ensure that the sector was well-regulated.
As part of efforts to address irresponsible fishing, he intimated that the Fisheries Amendment Regulation (LI 2215) of 2015 had been passed to give meaning to the Fisheries Amendment Act 2014 (Act 880) to combat illegal fishing activities.
“I am happy to note that resulting from the progress we have made, Ghana has been removed from the ban imposed by the European Union,” he said, and expressed the hope that with good industry practice, earnings from fish exports could improve.
Quoting statistics from the Ministry of Fisheries, the Vice-President said total fish production in 2014 was more than 413,000 metric tonnes, representing 38 per cent of the national fish requirement.
To improve the situation, he announced the implementation of a five-year Aquatic Development Plan (2013-2018) with the aim of increasing aquaculture production from 39,000 metric tonnes in 2014 to 150,000 metric tonnes by 2018.
“The decline in the marine stock from natural, ecological and environmental factors gives us cause for concern and it is this development that calls for a switch to the active development of aquaculture,” Mr Amissah-Arthur stated.
Minister The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Ms Sherry Ayittey, said the government had honoured its promise to improve the lives of fishers in the Ningo-Prampram District by providing them with a modern cold store.
She said for their part, the managers of the facility, the cold store committee, had the onerous responsibility of ensuring that there were no post-harvest losses in the area and charged the committee to allow those who needed to use the facility to do so without hindrance.
The Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Mr Enoch Teye Mensah, told the gathering that the choice of Prampram as the venue of the festival was in recognition of the contribution of the district to fish production in the county.
TheFishSite News Desk