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Fisheries Ministry launches ‘Fish for Food’ project

BY: Rebecca Quaicoe Duho & Esther Omoha
Mr Samuel Manu, a representative from the Fisheries Commission, addressing the media. PICTURE: OWUSU INNOCENT
Mr Samuel Manu, a representative from the Fisheries Commission, addressing the media. PICTURE: OWUSU INNOCENT

The Ministry of Fisheries has launched a project with which it hopes to make the sector contribute significantly to food security in the country.

The “Fish4Food” project seeks to ensure an all-year-round availability and access to fish for use at homes and restaurants.

The Minister of Fisheries, Ms Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, in an address read on her behalf, said the ministry was currently implementing the Fisheries Management Plan (a component of the Fish4Food project launched last year) to improve production in the marine sub-sector.

She said this at a stakeholders’ workshop in Accra yesterday to strategise about the effective implementation of the mother project, Fish4Food.

Participants were drawn from fishing associations, canoe makers associations, bankers, traders, researchers, non-governmental organisations and policy makers.

Fisheries plan

The plan, which she said spanned 2015 to 2019, was to reduce the excessive pressure on marine fish stock.

She said it also sought to ensure that effective fisheries legislation was implemented to protect the nation’s fish resources and also contribute to enhance fish export opportunities as well as increase value addition.

Ms Quaye said fisheries and aquaculture remained important sources of food, nutrition, income and livelihood for millions across the world, Ghana not being an exception.

To that end, she said, the ministry as part of ensuring the production of safe and quality fish for consumption had made it mandatory for all vessels to meet basic sanitary requirements before obtaining a licence to fish.

Urbanisation challenges

A lecturer at the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resource of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Mr Benjamin Betey Campion, in a presentation, said urbanisation had resulted in food insecurity and malnutrition due to unavailability of food.

He said food insecurity would bring about malnutrition and health-related challenges in Africa, adding that, “increasing demand for fish will put increasing pressure on the fish stock”.

Policies to improve food security

To deal with food insecurity, he said policies should be implemented to improve market efficiency and ensure stability of food prices in the market, educate women and the girl-child on good nutrition, implement an environmental policy to regulate economic activities in fisheries communities and policies to encourage sustainable urban agriculture and aquaculture to supplement urban food.

He said an improved value chain was also needed to maintain the supply of food protein in the country.

The Project Coordinator of Fish4Food, Dr Edward Ebo Onumah, in an address, said the outcome of the workshop would be used to inform policies in the fishing industry.

He said the workshop would also throw more light on the fisheries industry, identifying the possible bottlenecks for redress.