Stakeholders demand plan to benefit from aquaculture
Stakeholders in the aquaculture industry have underscored the need for a residue monitoring plan that will help the country derive maximum benefit from aquaculture.
The introduction of this plan, they said, would also reduce the risks of pests and diseases that affected fish farms and the environment.
Presenting a position paper on behalf of the group to the Fisheries Commission, an Agribusiness Consultant, Joseph Seyram Klu, said the initiative would strengthen the farm biosecurity management to curtail unnecessary cost and production losses, as well as enable fish processors to access the European Union (EU) market.
He said Ghana did not have a standalone aquaculture policy and added that the aquaculture sector was currently a privately run enterprise.
“We expect the government to institute farmer and consumer-oriented policies and programmes to promote aquaculture, safeguard sustainable water resources management and food security,” he said
Mr Klu, therefore, advised the Fisheries Commission to collaborate with the Veterinary Services Directorate and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to operationalise the validated Aquaculture biosecurity guidelines.
He further suggested that the Fisheries Commission should partner stakeholders, especially farmers, to develop and establish a national aquaculture bio-certification programme for fish farmers.
“The government through the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development should purchase a Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry machine and its accessories for the VSD’s National Food Safety Laboratory of the Ghana Standard Authority (GSA) to improve testing of residues in farmed fish,” he said.
The National Organiser of the Ghana Aquaculture Association, Francis deHeer, indicated that due to the high stocking density in aquaculture system and the need to optimise the feed conversion ratio, many farmers in the aquaculture sector used commercial feeds formulated from natural and artificial ingredients.
He said some of those formulated feed ingredients and veterinary drug residue were potential sources of pesticides in fish feeds and must be monitored and controlled.
Mr deHeer, therefore, appealed to the government to support stakeholders in the fish feed industry to produce at a lower cost to encourage aquaculture farmers to expand their farms to produce and process for export.
He said tilapia and catfish capture in the country was currently insufficient for local and domestic export, adding that the deficit was partly met by the aquaculture farmers.