The Provost of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Prof. Livingstone Sam-Amoah, has pledged the institution’s commitment to engage communities in research and technologies aimed at adding value to agricultural products and creating employment and wealth.
He said the university had, on countless occasions, supported agricultural programmes that benefitted the society, adding that “agriculture is a profitable business and we must make it attractive.”
Prof. Sam-Amoah said this at the eetraining workshop for fish farmers at Gomoa Okyereko in the Central Region. It was a collaboration between Ainoo-Ansah Farms at Okyereko and the Department of Fisheries and Acquatic Sciences, UCC.
The five-day workshop brought together fish biologists, aquaculture experts and agribusiness practitioners to train prospective and already-practising fish farmers on current techniques and management strategies for ensuring successful fish farming operation.
It focused on tilapia farming based on training manual on tilapia culture prepared by the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, UCC.
The Ainoo-Ansah farms currently has partnership arrangements with the UCC and the University of Energy and Natural Resources.
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Students from these universities undertake their internship programmes on the farm free of charge, while they are provided with free accommodation and lunch.
Prof Sam-Amoah expressed concern about the shortfalls in fish production in the country which led to the importation of fish and expressed the hope that the training of the farmers would help to bridge the gap.
The Head of Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, UCC, Dr Noble Kwame Asare, said although Ghana was a fish-consuming community, many entrepreneurs shied away from investing in that sector.
He said the university had a lot of researches that were sitting on the shelves and added that it was “just proper that we partner those who have the technical know-how for the benefit of many people.’
Dr Asare mentioned access to cheap finance, high cost of feed, marketing, among other factors, militating against the development of the fishery industry in the country.
He, therefore, called on the government to make it possible for the Small and Medium scale farmer in Aqua-Culture to remain in business by offering them credit facilities.
The Chief Executive (CEO) of Ainoo-Ansah Farms Ltd said his company had plans to develop fish farming into a dignifying mainstay, saying “we have to bring the average of farmers from 56 to the lowest age to attract the youth.”
He expressed the delight that the participants at the workshop were people with diverse background and added that “we will introduce agricultural entrepreneurship. Fish farming is lucrative.”
Quoting a research conducted by the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Mr Ainoo-Ansah said there could be tremendous improvements in agriculture if research findings and technologies were practicalised.