Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mavis Hawa Koomson has intervened in the impasse over outstanding compensation matters concerning Tropo Farms Limited after Government acquired the farm’s core operational area for railway project.
The visit to the farm at Mpakadan in the Asuogyaman District of Eastern Region by the Minister and her technical staff was to have first-hand information about the farm’s operations and challenges.
After assessing the farm few days ago, she directed the farm mangers to submit a report on all unresolved compensation issues and other challenges facing the company for redress.
Mrs Koomson encouraged the management to continue with the good work and also assured them of government’s support to promote aquaculture for food and jobs.
She said promoting aquaculture was central to government’s modernisation of agriculture agenda, which Tropo Farms as a private entity was already a key player.
“What do we do to encourage you to continue with the good work you are doing is to visit you and to give you assurance that we are with you,” she said.
“And I promised to collaborate with the Railways Minister to help address their compensation matter quickly,” she added.
She advised managers of the farm to immediately write to the Railway Ministry and copy her, stressing:
“So that, quickly, I can take it up with my colleague and see how best we can help.”
She urged them to include in the letter all compensation issues, fast encroachment of Afcon on the farm’s core operational zone, and the number of employees as well as the number of people likely to be rendered jobless should the company shutdown.
In October 2021, managers of the farm called for dialogue with stakeholders in the railway and fisheries sectors in the resolution of unpaid compensation issues affecting the company, following a stalemate between it and the Ghana Railway Development Authority.
However, recent intervention by the fisheries minister was hailed as a positive development as it would pave way for fruitful dialogue and speed up the compensation process for relocation of the tilapia company to sustain employment.
Briefing the minister, Mr Francis Zimmaleh, Senior Manager, Corporate Strategy and PRO of Tropo Farms, said the company contributed 40 per cent of Ghana’s tilapia market and was ranked second largest tilapia producer in Sub-Saharan African.
He said the Company was incorporated in 1997 and branded as Volta Catch. “It employs 800 workers, mostly women, with additional 2,000 women engaged in the distribution chain.”
Through its value chain, the company has created and continue to create employment at its depots in Tema, Kasoa, Malata, Takoradi and Kumasi with plans afoot to establish an additional depot in Tamale to serve the northern sector of Ghana.
He stated that non-operationalisation of the Mpakadan site would have rippling effect on employment in those areas.
Mr Zimmaleh said the company was fully in support of the government’s job creation agenda and as a result, was rolling out Volta Catch Women, a flagship project to empower women in the tilapia value chain.
He re-echoed that the company was not against the railway construction as it would even help in their expansion bid to northern Ghana and neighbouring Burkina Faso, adding, “It is of paramount national interest to us.”