Some local fish farmers across the country have referred to the ban on the importation of all ornamental fishes and tilapia species as a good move by government.
According to them, better prospects are being anticipated as the demand on tilapia keeps rising.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Flosell Farms Limited, Mr Evans Kwadzo Danso, said the importation of tilapia species and other ornamental fishes had for a long time been an albatross on the neck of local fish farmers.
“One of our major challenges was that people produce fish form China and come to sell it in our country. Especially when you go to the northern part, Kumasi and others there are a lot of containers of frozen tilapia coming in which offers competition to us so,” he told Accra based GH One Television.
According to Mr Danso, their plight could be likened to the menace faced by the textile industry adding that, “the news from the ministry was quite good. It is a good initiative to encourage local production.”
He was however quick too add that the ban is not to say the consumption of tilapia is not save but rather to highlight the fact that there is a risk of diseases elsewhere.
Mr Danso indicated that locally produced tilapia despite numerable challenges has a wealth of nutrients, vitamins and mineral that are beneficial to consumers.
According to him, the fishes are fed with plant-based diet of local Ghanaian soy, maize and fish meal.
“We never use antibiotics, chemicals or growth hormones. It is quite a heavy investment and cost not less than GH¢8.50 to produce one kilogram of fish with the feed contributing about 70% of that cost,” he said.
But Mr Danso predicts that Ghana’s fishing industry may not thrive if the challenges it faces, keep occurring.
Though Ghana is said to have the ideal condition for major tilapia farming and other aqua-culture endeavours, two things are affecting the aqua culture sector―Lack of readily available tilapia fingerlings and lack of readily available standardised feeding feed.
Mr Danso says currently tilapia fingerlings are only available through limited sources in Ghana and are quite expensive resulting in low profit margin for local farmers.
High cost of imported fish farming commodities means fish farmers starting small cannot make it and the sector would suffer if Ghana does not find a way to produce fish feed.
“It’s quite an expensive venture and we’ve invested close to GH¢2 million so far…we keep buying and importing feed every day for them to grow. It cost us quite a lot to produce a kilo of fish.”
By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ firstname.lastname@example.org