President Akufo-Addo has commissioned the US$10 million National Aquaculture Centre to provide practical training to aquaculture graduates as aquapreneurs.
The Centre is also to establish a commercial fish farm to generate revenue to sustain the facility and utilise state-of-the-art technology to increase the total annual fish production from the aquaculture subsector.
The National Aquaculture Centre is located at Amrahia, off the Adenta-Dodowa road, in the Adenta Municipal Assembly of the Greater Accra Region. The sod-cutting for the project took place in September 2021.
The President attended the colourful event at the premises of the Centre on Thursday, June 8, 2023, to commission the first batch of students and other guests, who were treated to some beautiful Ga cultural dances.
The President viewed the facility as another milestone in the government’s quest to develop the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in the country.
The Amrahia project follows the 86 million euro Elmina Fishing Harbour project, which he commissioned over a week ago in the Central Region.
“The project reinforces the Akufo-Addo government’s determination and commitment to the growth of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors,” he added.
The aim of the Centre, as the President mentioned, is “to produce quality fish products and to create employment through the training of the local population as fish farmers, with an emphasis on graduates from our universities.”
Statistics indicate that some three million people are employed along the entire value chain of the sector, he said, adding that the sector employs about 20% of the nation’s workforce and 11% of agriculture’s GDP.
The sector provides 60% of the nation’s annual protein and generated $254 million in revenue for the state last year on the export of fish and fish products.
Despite the significant revenue the sector generates to boost the economy of the country, the President observed the significant threats the marine stocks faced in the form of pollution, biodiversity loss, ocean dumping, overfishing, and piracy, among others.
He opined that the threats, which, to him, were avoidable, denied millions of people their livelihoods, while affecting food security prospects and important ecosystems.
However, the government introduced the greenhouse aquaculture technology system in 2019 to address the challenge of dwindling catch from the sea.
The Centre comprises facilities such as aquaculture indoor structures, classrooms, accommodation for students and staff, a mechanic workshop, packaging warehouses, cold storage facilities for chemicals and inputs, a water reservoir, a power station, and others.
The aim is to produce 50,00 metric tonnes of fish within five years, and to train and set up 200 aquapreneurs within the same period to increase employment.
The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mavis Hawa Koomson, informed the President that her Ministry had put together a new national aquaculture plan to be implemented between 2023 and 2027.
She stated that the new plan was expected to improve aquaculture production from 89376 metric tons in 2021 to 211697 metric tonnes by the end of 2027.
In his welcome address, the Greater Accra Regional Minister was elated that Greater Accra, particularly Amrahia, was chosen to host the Centre, and urged the chiefs and the people to take advantage of it to explore the potentials that exist.
The Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, stated that the Amrahia facilities were not different from the ones at Anomabo, indicating the commitment of the government to develop the sector.
He urged the student and the gathering to be committed to the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, as they held a huge market. He stated that about 2,000 fingerlings in six months could generate GH¢30,000.
The contractor of the project, Messers Agritop Limited, assured the President that they were committed to ensuring that the Centre ran efficiently.
The first batch of 24 students has been admitted to undergo 13 weeks of training in various aspects of aquaculture at the Amrahia Centre.
Individuals with a diploma or first degree in a fisheries-related program can enroll at the Centre.